While today is technically Thanksgiving, Christmas may have come a little early for both Chris Petersen and Washington Husky football fans everywhere. It was announced this morning that Petersen and the University of Washington have agreed to a two-year contract extension.
The new extension will add two more years to the current five year deal that Petersen signed in late 2013. Barring a voluntary separation somewhere along the line, Petersen is now locked in to guide the Huskies football program through 2020.
While some Husky fans have chafed under yet another rebuilding program at Montlake, most analysts have been impressed with the overhaul effort that Petersen has engineered since arriving at UW two seasons ago. In his first year as head coach, the Huskies reached eight wins and the post season, despite contending with a roster that featured an almost entirely freshman secondary, player attrition from the Steve Sarkisian regime, a new QB and discipline issues amongst a few key players - in particular star CB Marcus Peters - and injuries to key playmakers such as WR Kasen Williams and Dwayne Washington. In fact, the UW coaching staff still managed to put four players into the first two rounds of the NFL draft, reflecting the ability of the staff to make an impact on player development.
The second year of Petersen regime has been characterized by inconsistent play generally attributable to the overall youth roster. Washington has just 13 seniors (14 if you count Cory Fuavai) and has started true freshman at key positions such as QB, LT, RT, and RB all season. Despite the roster's overall youth, Petersen's emphasis on details in preparation and development of fundamentals has enabled his team to remain competitive in just about every game played this season, including an upset win over a ranked USC team in Los Angeles earlier this season.
The granting of a contract extension signals the confidence that the administration has in Petersen and his staff. Expectations will certainly ramp up over the course of the next few seasons as Petersen's approach becomes more ingrained in the program and as key players such as QB Jake Browning, LT Trey Adams, DL Elijah Qualls, LB Azeem Victor, CB Sidney Jones and FS Budda Baker continue to mature.
Below is the full press release from UW.
SEATTLE - Washington football coach Chris Petersen's contract has been extended by two years, linking the second-year Husky head man to the UW through the 2020 season.
Athletic director Scott Woodward announced today that Petersen, who was a originally signed to a five-year deal in December of 2013, has added two more years to the end of the original contract. Petersen's compensation will remain the same in years six and seven as in the fifth year.
"Coach Petersen has demonstrated tremendous integrity and is building a program that Husky fans can be proud of, both on and off the field," Woodward said. "This extension is well-deserved and we hope Coach Petersen is a Husky for a long time to come."
Petersen, the only two-time recipient of the Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year Award, entered the 2015 season with the highest winning percentage in the country among active NCAA-FBS coaches (minimum five years at FBS level). Last season, he reached his 100th career win in his 117th game, the fifth-fewest in major college history, tied with Knute Rockne.
Friday, the UW takes on Washington State in the Apple Cup, presented by Boeing. The 108th meeting between the Huskies and Cougars will kick off at 12:30 p.m. PT and air on FOX television.