Now that the dust has settled with Chris Petersen’s surprise step-down
It’s been almost two weeks since Chris Petersen announced his intention to step down. Washington Huskies football fans are still spinning in confusion and remorse. But, after reflecting, Petersen’s impact on UW football is massive and it will still reign purple and gold.
Chris Petersen’s brought championships to UW
From 2004 to 2008, the Huskies were in awful form. Their season records were as follows:
- 2004: 1 and 10
- 2005: 2 and 9
- 2006: 5 and 7
- 2007: 4 and 9
- 2008: 0 and 12
After that, the Dawgs got Steve Sarkisian as a head coach and he led them back to being a good, not great team. Sarkisian ended the seven-year bowl-drought for UW and that was a huge accomplishment. While his 34 and 29 record wasn’t amazing, it was a step in the right direction.
Then, in 2014, the UW football program lucked out and stole Chris Petersen away from Boise State. He kept what Sarkisian started and added to it.
From 2016 to 2018, the Huskies were on another level.
- Three straight seasons with at least ten wins
- Two Pac-12 Championships
- Three straight NY6 Bowls
- One College Football Playoff berth
Additionally, he set a record for the most games won by UW football in a four-year stretch. From 2015-2018, they totaled 39 wins. However, if Chris Petersen’s Huskies get a Las Vegas Bowl victory, he will set the record again with 40 wins from 2016-2019.
With Petersen at the helm, the Huskies were Pac-12 Champions, routinely top-25 ranked and demanded respect. He rejuvenated the UW program and brought success. His leadership and coaching were instrumental to the purple and gold.
Perfect in Apple Cups
For true Dawgs, the Apple Cup is a huge priority. Friends, colleagues and even family are torn apart each year because of the UW-WSU rivalry. It’s serious business.
Conquering Washington State is always both a delight and a must. But, Chris Petersen did it with perfection. In his six Apple Cups, UW:
- Won six out of six times
- Scored 221 points (36.83-per-game)
- Held WSU to 82 points (13.67-per-game)
Although Washington State might be glad that he’s stepping down, they unfortunately still have to face Jimmy Lake.
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Passes the Huskies torch to highly sought-after Jimmy Lake
After the Huskies lost the Rose Bowl last year to the Ohio State Buckeyes, it was a shock that Washington retained Jimmy Lake. Lake was a sought-after defensive coordinator for a head-coaching job. He certainly garnered attention.
However, with the news of Chris Petersen stepping down, it makes more sense. This step-down was a surprise to everyone outside of the UW program. But, it remains a mystery whether Peterson, Lake or other staff knew. Nonetheless, this is excellent news for Washington football. Lake’s defensive coaching is a large part of UW’s success in recent years. Though he’ll create his own culture at UW with the absence of Petersen, promoting Lake was a calculated move. It keeps the successful environment intact.
Washington Huskies Top Recruiter
As of today, Washington’s 2020’s recruiting class ranks 1st in the Pac-12 and 15th nationally.
With the staff and culture Chris Petersen built, it set them up for top-recruiting. From 2018 to 2020, Washington’s ranked 16th, 15th and 15th nationally.
It’s no surprise either. Remember that the University of Washington is a historic program. Since 1889, they’ve won seventeen conference championships, seven Rose Bowls and two NCCA recognized national championships. Combining that history with Chris Petersen’s leadership and success is the perfect base for recruiting.
Additionally, Chris Petersen’s athletes are doing well in the NFL. Over the last five years, NFL teams drafted 24 Washington athletes and there are currently 33 Dawgs on NFL rosters. Petersen created a winning environment in Washington that also led to the NFL draft. What’s not to love?
But, with Petersen stepping down, there’s a large fear that his recruiting success leaves with him. However, recent signs show otherwise. As of this Wednesday, zero of their 21 commits de-committed. Additionally, it’s been Jimmy Lake’s already been involved in the recruiting process with Petersen. As a proper head coach does, they delegate. So, positional coaches and Jimmy Lake already have practice in the recruiting process.
Moreover, Jimmy Lake’s defensive brilliance will aid his recruiting of defensive talent. The “Jimmy Lake Defense” is a known quantity in Montlake and well-respected. Currently, there are eight defensive backs in the NFL that had Jimmy Lake as a coach. Also, the Huskies defense, in an off-year, still rank 24th-best in scoring. If Washington hires a promising offensive coordinator, their recruiting will continue their reign.
Wishing you the best of luck and healing Chris Petersen
Say what you want about stepping down during your prime, but Chris Petersen made a choice for his quality of life. His decision was praised by Seahawks coach, Pete Carroll. Carroll, who can empathize with coaching an elite, college program.
“The college thing is really, really demanding in terms of the constant recruiting pressure and strain,’’ Carroll said. “It’s really the strain of it. It just doesn’t go away. You’re on the next year always anyway. It’s just an ongoing process. That’s one part of it.”Pete Carroll
With the way college football programs are set up now, it’s easy to see burnout in coaches. Petersen said it himself that he didn’t enjoy the Rose Bowl like he should have.
“You work your whole life to get to (the Rose Bowl),” he said, “and I didn’t really appreciate the week. I didn’t appreciate the game like I need to, you know, as a kid growing up looking at that game. I think that was one of the things that really hit me loud and clear. So, you know, you start to pay attention to that. Then you go and you put your heart and soul into what you’re doing.”Chris Petersen Quote
So, with all that Chris Petersen has given the Huskies, let’s wish him the best. Football was his life. But, football also was the cause of constant stress, anxiety, missed expectations, demands, pressure, and exhaustion. It’s time for Petersen to take a break and recovery. Whether or not he ever coaches a football team again, he’s done enough with UW football to earn his status as a lifetime Husky.