Petersen meets with Washington on Thursday night

bmurphy@idahostatesman.com and ccripe@idahostatesman.comDecember 5, 2013 

— Boise State football coach Chris Petersen met with University of Washington Athletic Director Scott Woodward on Thursday night in Boise to discuss the Huskies’ coaching vacancy, booster Travis Hawkes said.

A private flight from Seattle landed at the Boise Airport at 8:02 p.m. Thursday. The people on-board immediately got into a black car headed to a Boise hotel, according to airport sources. Woodward and a woman returned to the plane 2 hours, 10 minutes later and left — without Petersen. The meeting lasted about 90 minutes.

Earlier Thursday, amid reports from ESPN and The Seattle Times that Petersen would interview with Washington on Friday, Boise State spokesman Max Corbet said that Petersen was in his office Thursday and would be again Friday.

That left an opening on Thursday night.

The Broncos begin bowl practices Saturday and should know where they’ll play no later than Sunday.

Petersen interviewed for the USC job earlier in the week, according to multiple media reports. He withdrew from consideration. USC hired Washington’s Steve Sarkisian, which opened the job in Seattle.

Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com tweeted Thursday night that Petersen withdrew from the USC search because of philosophical differences.

“His vision didn’t mesh with how (Athletic Director) Pat Haden wants things run,” Feldman tweeted.

Petersen has not been available to the media since his postgame press conference Saturday.

He is off to one of the greatest starts to a coaching career in college football history. He is 92-12 (88.5 percent) in eight seasons, including two Fiesta Bowl titles (2006 and 2009 seasons) and two Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year Awards. He has led the Broncos to undefeated regular seasons in 2006, 2008 and 2009, to conference titles in 2006, 2008-10 and 2012 and to Top 25 rankings in 2006 and from 2008 to 2012.

The Broncos are 8-4 this season — their worst season in Petersen’s tenure.

He has been approached often about job opportunities, including by several Pac-12 schools, but has chosen to stay in Boise. Most notably, he withdrew from consideration for the Stanford job after the 2010 season when Boise State promised to build a state-of-the-art football facility.

The Bleymaier Football Complex opened last summer.

Petersen has worked at Boise State for 13 years. He was the offensive coordinator under Dan Hawkins from 2001 to 2005 and became the head coach in 2006. His name has surfaced for other job opportunities since his first offseason in Boise, when other schools wanted him as a coordinator. That has continued throughout his tenure as a head coach.

Petersen said in July that he considers his stay at Boise State “year to year.” He said he appreciated that his oldest son, Jack, was able to attend first through 12th grades in Boise, but hinted that a change may be looming.

“I was always thinking that would be such an awesome thing,” he said at the Mountain West media preview. “And it has been awesome. But you can also make the case sometimes where, maybe we sheltered our kids too much now by not getting them to different places. But in this day and age in college football, pro football, whatever, to be able to have some stability, we’ve been lucky."

Petersen is scheduled to make $2,348,000 in 2014. He has five years left on his contract, which extends each time he wins eight games, and has a $750,000 buyout. He is contractually obligated to coach the Broncos in their bowl game even if he takes another job “to minimize the impact on the program.”

At Washington, Petersen could be reunited with former Broncos defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox (2006-09), who has not yet followed Sarkisian to USC.

“We are fully committed to Coach Petersen remaining at Boise State and, as always, intend to do everything in our power to support him as Boise State’s football coach,” Boise State President Bob Kustra said in a statement to the Statesman on Thursday afternoon.

Brian Murphy: 377-6444, Chadd Cripe: 377-6398,

Twitter: @IDS_murphsturph, @IDS_BroncoBeat

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