Well, Husky fans… Merry Christmas. You guys must have been very, very good this year. You’ve just gotten the biggest present under the post-season coaching change tree. He will bring you joy and wonder for many years to come.
I am a Bronco fan who lives in the Boise area, and I’ve followed the team over the years with great interest (and pride). Locally, we’ve just experienced the Golden Age of BSU Football. It is hard to consider that those times might have reached their zenith… But when one dynasty falls, another inevitably rises to take its’ place. This may be your time.
I am not a football expert, though I know Tampa 2 is not a Florida suburb, and a flood pattern is not something FEMA dreamed up. I am, however, a people expert – both professionally and as an avocation. With that said, I’d like to offer a few insights on the new leader of your football program. I don’t know Chris Petersen personally; we’ve never met, but I have watched him closely – and I admire who he is. So take my observations for what they are worth…
First, Chris Petersen is called "Pete" or "Coach Pete" far more often than by his given name by local media and his own players. BSU President Bob Kustra, and out-of-town media types call him Chris, so he doesn’t seem to strongly prefer one name over the other. I’ll henceforth use the more popular form.
Coach Pete is a Nice Guy: He treats everyone with respect and consideration. You will never see him do a "Pelini" on the sideline with an official or player. Does he get upset sometimes? Yes, but his actions will be very measured. He absolutely refuses to run up the score in games like Bret Bielema. He is not a bully in press conferences like Nick Saban. The most negative response I’ve seen (once) is a brief glare followed by a terse "Next question." Most of the local lore says that he is quite approachable in public, though he is definitely not an attention seeker.
Pete is a Good Man: By all accounts he’s a dedicated family man. The Boise area is a geographically isolated fishbowl. If he was a Bobby Petrino we’d have known it long ago. Chris and Barbara Petersen do a ton of stuff for charities - the most public of which is Make a Wish. Pete preaches doing the right thing to his players, and they say that he practices what he preaches. Which brings me to my next point…
Pete likes OKG’s: The coach’s values deeply affect who he recruits. There is even a term for the type of player he looks for: OKG’s or Our Kind of Guys. These are the kids who are as good in the classroom or community as they are on the football field… Character Guys. All coaches pay lip service to wanting this kind of kid; Coach Pete truly does, and will take them over superior talent. Your recruiting rating will plummet, but you’ll probably end up with a better team. Look at BSU’s APR and winning percentage… As a bonus, you’ll never see another Jeramy Stevens.
Pete runs a tight ship: Truly… No Twitter, No Facebook. Go to class. Be a good ambassador for the University. He tells recruits if they want to go to college to have fun they need to go somewhere else. If they want to work hard, get a degree and win football games, welcome aboard… Some kids leave because they can’t handle the expectations, or chafe under them. Pete kicks a couple out of the program every year (even with the recruiting emphasis on OKG’s). Is BSU an academically difficult school? No. Is there a "football major?" Yes, Communication. But four years of college is still a challenge for any kid who plays a top-level sport. And Pete insists that everything be done right. This year’s senior class is graduating 16 out of 16. They started with 25, so you can see the attrition.
Pete will not BS you: He will not tell you UW is his "dream job" as Todd Graham might. He will not promise you x number of wins or conference championships like almost every coach does. He will not even cite a "decided schematic advantage," though he is a great offensive coach… His press conferences are, frankly, boring. He always respects the other team (and he truly does). He always says the team will work and prepare hard (they always do). He will always ignore things he cannot control (rankings, media noise). He may refuse to answer a question, but I have never seen him lie, or be misleading. Sark had more colorful quotes, but Pete will play it straight.
There is so much more that I could say, but I think you get the idea. You are getting a great person as well as an outstanding coach. Bronco Nation is in mourning, but most of us would extend a congratulatory hand to all of you in Husky Land. That would be the most fitting way for us to honor a man who has shown so much class and character.
The Huskies are now my favorite Pac-12 team. As long as Coach Pete is there, that is…
Congratulations, Husky Nation. Enjoy the ride!