Dear Ana Mari Cauce,
With the departure of Scott Woodward you will be hiring a new Athletic Director at the University of Washington. As a long time Husky, I implore you to give Chris Petersen final approval of the hiring.
This is a big picture move here. The success of a football team leads to increased donor revenue both for the athletic department and academically (this is a proven fact), greater student body excitement that sets the tone for the academic year and higher visibility for the institution. And football is the engine that drives the athletic department train.
In the history of the UW, Don James was unparalleled in accomplishment. He ‘worked for’ Mike Lude. As Athletic Director Mike Lude used to joke that Don James was his "boss". They had a shared vision for the football program and the university. Don James was followed by Jim Lambright who bled purple and gold and was a successful coach. HIs ‘Whammy in Miami’ is one of the historic UW victories. This was accomplished in spite of crippling NCAA penalties. However, when Barbara Hedges was hired as Athletic Director, Lambo wasn’t jazzy or sexy enough for her. He had been "forced" upon her by James' sudden retirement. Hence, Rick Neuheisel was hired and his reign (or technically the messy end of it) commenced a downward spiral that lasted a decade. Please don’t repeat that.
In Chris Petersen you have a singularly unique individual and an exemplary coach.
This is an amazing football team he is putting together. He really is building better people as well as football players. Look at the team gpa and the number of players with gpa’s above 3.0 this season. Both team records.
Beyond the classroom, they are classy on the field. I was watching the Pac-12 championship game and saw the star receiver for USC, Juju Smith-Schuster slap a Stanford player in the head when the Stanford player tried to help him off the ground and all I could think was, ‘Coach Petersen would have put him on the bench for the rest of the game’. See "Peters, Marcus..." from Petersen’s first season.
If you bring in an Athletic Director with a different "vision" Coach Petersen will leave because he is a human being of principle and integrity and that would be a tragedy for Husky Nation.
For success there must be a symbiotic relationship between the two. An example of this is across town with the Seattle Seahawks. Their head coach and general manager (akin to athletic director) work together and have a shared vision.
Please, please, please include Coach Pete in the final decision. We are achieving great things in the classroom and heading for great things on the football field and for the University. Your decision to include him is paramount.
Thanks for your time.
Larry the Dawg