Here are some candidates to replace Petersen at Boise State

By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman

With the news that Boise State football coach Chris Petersen has accepted the Washington job, here are some coaches who could be candidates to replace him in Boise:

Justin Wilcox

Current job: Washington defensive coordinator. USC reportedly wants him to follow Steve Sarkisian there but Wilcox has a $1 million buyout to move within the conference. He also could stay at Washington under Petersen.

Boise State ties: Defensive coordinator from 2006 to 2009, when the Broncos were 49-4 and won two Fiesta Bowls. He also was a graduate assistant on the staff in 2001-02. And his dad, Dave Wilcox, played at Boise Junior College.

Why he makes sense: Wilcox is a hot name is coaching circles. He left the Broncos to be the defensive coordinator at Tennessee, then Washington. He also has the personality most similar to Petersen of any of the recent assistants, guys play hard for him and he’s a strong recruiter. His best get at Boise State: quarterback Kellen Moore.

Here is a story I wrote on Wilcox in December, before the Broncos and Huskies played in the MAACO Bowl.

Pete Kwiatkowski

Current job: Boise State defensive coordinator. On staff since 2006, when he joined Petersen’s staff as defensive line coach. He’s been the coordinator since 2010.

Boise State ties: Kwiatkowski is one of Boise State’s all-time greats as a player. He also was an assistant from 1988 to 1996.

Why he makes sense: Kwiatkowski might not want to leave Boise — like Petersen in 2005 — and could be ready for a new challenge. He’s been vague in the past about whether he wants to be a head coach but he has repeatedly turned down overtures from larger schools to be a coordinator. Asked last year whether he wants to be a head coach, he said: “Sometimes. Sometimes not. It’s a different deal. It’s totally different.”

Dirk Koetter

Current job: Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator.

Boise State ties: Head coach from 1998 to 2000 and close friends with Petersen.

Why he makes sense: Koetter left to take the job at Arizona State, where he was fired after six seasons (40-34, four bowls). He was 26-10 at Boise State, leading the school to its first two bowl games and setting the foundation for the success that followed. Petersen has joked that Koetter told him he would punch him in the face if he ever thought about leaving Boise State.

Bryan Harsin

Current job: Head coach at Arkansas State. The Red Wolves lost their last two coaches after one year, so they insisted on a $1.75 million buyout for Harsin. That makes him an unlikely choice. He also went 7-5 this year.

Boise State ties: Played quarterback for the Broncos and joined the coaching staff in 2002. He was the offensive coordinator under Petersen from 2006 to 2010 before taking a coordinator post at Texas.

Why he makes sense: Harsin grew up in Boise and has the offensive background to keep the Koetter-Petersen scheme going.

Other possibilities

Boise State offensive line coach and associate head coach Chris Strausser and linebackers coach Bob Gregory are veteran assistants who might apply. Hawkins, the Broncos’ coach from 2001 to 2005 and currently out of coaching, also could pursue the job. Former wide receivers coach and offensive coordinator Brent Pease might express an interest, but his recent firing as offensive coordinator at Florida makes his candidacy a long shot.

Or the school could look outside its own coaching tree. I’ll try to post some of those names later.

Here are some tweets from former players about Petersen leaving:

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Chadd Cripe has spent the past 12 years as the Boise State football beat writer. You can follow him on Twitter @IDS_BroncoBeat.

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