LAS VEGAS His record is remarkable, an almost comical 83-8 mark at Boise State. Chris Petersens coaching prowess is not in doubt, certainly not in our blue-and-orange corner of the world and not in many other parts of the college football universe either.
Petersens achievements his ability to keep the program sailing along with personnel losses and assistant coaches moving on and his willingness to build at Boise State rather than take one of the dozens of opportunities he could have had in recent years has made the seventh-year coach a go-to source within the coaching profession.
Theres something special and different about Pete. His track record, people have a great deal of respect for the fact that hes stayed in one place and been willing to make that place better. It proves hes not in it for himself, Boise State offensive line coach Chris Strausser said.
Some want to pick his brain. Others want to join his team. All have deep admiration for what Petersen has done and how he has done it.
I have tremendous respect for Coach Pete. I asked him some questions and I really listened to him, former Utah State coach Gary Andersen said last week.
Andersen called Petersen for counsel when other schools were courting him. He ended up at Wisconsin. Former Boise State offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin called his former boss for advice and set up future meetings when he took his first head-coaching position at Arkansas State this month.
Its not me. Dont look at it like its me, Petersen said of the advice-seeking phone calls. Here at Boise State weve been able to do some things. Its worked out well. How did that happen, that experience here? I dont think Ive got all the answers. Theyre calling because good things have happened here.
Similarly, Petersen will point to the low cost of living in Boise and the areas reputation as a great place to raise a family anything but himself when asked why the Broncos attract such good assistant coaches.
Hes right. Those factors are extremely important.
But hes wrong. Coaches want to work for him.
Petersen said he gets an avalanche of phone calls whenever there is an opening on his staff.
Strausser said his phone rings constantly with coaches he knows and doesnt know looking for a way to get on the staff and to pick Petersens brain. One of the things that attracted first-year quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith to the position was the chance to work alongside Petersen.
Learning from a distance, you never know what the secret sauce is. You have a chance to learn some good stuff. Guys want to have a chance to see it for themselves, Strausser said.
Often overlooked in that search for the secret sauce is Petersens ability to recruit assistant coaches. As a first-time head coach, Petersen put together a tremendous staff that helped the Broncos win the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
Offensive line coach Sean Kugler is now the head coach at UTEP. Wide receivers coach Brent Pease is the offensive coordinator at Florida. Defensive backs coach Marcel Yates is a co-defensive coordinator at Texas A&M. Special teams coordinator Jeff Choate is now linebackers coach at Washington State and reportedly set to join Kuglers staff as defensive coordinator.
He hired two 29-year-old coordinators in Harsin and Justin Wilcox, now Washingtons defensive coordinator. Boise State and Washington meet in Saturdays MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.
Hes just got such a good way about him that he empowers people to do their job, Wilcox said. If you empower people to do their job and everything is important, self-starting, motivated people are going to do whatever they can to get it right. He creates that environment.
So whether youre on the custodial staff or the (graduate assistant) in charge of the copy machine or youre the offensive or defensive coordinator, everybody is important and empowered to do their job and you know what the standard is and you want to do a good job.
With each defection, Petersen has found a capable replacement assistant coaches who have helped produce that 83-8 record and those seven consecutive 10-win seasons. First-year secondary coach Jimmy Lake, who came to Boise State from the NFL, has earned high praise from players and helped the defense force 33 turnovers.
He starts with the kind of guys they are. All the assistants are good guys, great guys to be around, whether theyre working or not. And then hard workers. Very knowledgeable, said defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, a member of Petersens original 2006 staff. Theyre experts at what they do and they work their tails off. Thats why hes the head coach. He makes good decisions.
And the Broncos, despite losing three assistant coaches in the offseason, went 10-2 in what many considered a rebuilding season, only further cementing Petersens place among footballs best coaches.
Hes done a great job leading everybody and showing them the way, special teams and tight ends coach Scott Huff said. What better role model than Coach Pete?
Brian Murphy: 377-6444