On Chris Petersen: ‘Washington is lucky to get him’

dsouthorn@idahostatesman.comDecember 7, 2013 

From politicians to prominent players, there was no shortage of those who knew Chris Petersen well to bid him adieu Friday.

Defensive end Jarrell Root, who played for Petersen from 2007-11, took to Twitter in the morning when he heard the news.

“Coach Pete is like Mary Poppins, (you’re) glad to have had them, but when they leave ... you understand. Coach Pete also travels by umbrella,” he wrote.

Even those who were around Petersen for years and constantly heard the rumors were a little surprised, like Miami Dolphins cornerback Jamar Taylor, who played for Petersen from 2008-12.

“It was kind of like ‘wow,’ especially because I’m always telling people ‘no, he’s not leaving,’” Taylor said. “At the same time, he did everything he could possibly do at Boise from a winning standpoint, recruiting, building the university, bringing people to Boise. I think he needed a new challenge, and he’s up to it.”

Boise Mayor David Bieter said Petersen “will be always be part of the Boise family,” while Gov. Butch Otter praised the attention he brought to the state.

“Congratulations and good luck to Coach Pete on his new challenge! He’s brought great pride to BSU and Idaho, and he’ll be sorely missed,” Otter said in a statement.

Boise State President Bob Kustra did not speak publicly on Petersen’s departure, but offered similar praise.

“I know Bronco Nation joins me in thanking Chris Petersen for all he did to advance Boise State’s football program over the past (13) years,” Kustra said in a statement.

“He is not only a great coach but a great person and an asset to the community. We were lucky to have him at Boise State and Washington is lucky to get him.”

Athletic Director Mark Coyle, who began his third year on the job Dec. 1, said the school would begin a national search, and in a statement said, “Chris is an outstanding coach and role model, and we know he’ll be successful at Washington.”

Detroit Lions quarterback Kellen Moore, who won 50 games as Boise State’s starter from 2008-11, said, “I think Washington made a lot of sense.”

The new Boise State coach will go to work each day in the $22 million Bleymaier Football Complex, which opened this summer.

As if the specter of Petersen wouldn’t loom large enough, it also will have constant reminders of the now-Washington coach, whose favorite sayings were placed around the building.

“They just spent a bunch of money putting up those quotes from Coach Pete in that facility, better find someone who likes those,” Moore said.

Dave Southorn: 377-6420, Twitter: @IDS_southorn

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