Washington Huskies Coach Chris Petersen Announces Surprising Decision to Step Down

One of the winningest coaches in the NCAA will be making a surprising departure from his position following an upcoming bowl game. Washington Huskies head coach Chris Petersen announced on Monday that he will be stepping down following six seasons with the team. The University of Washington will now move forward with defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake as the new head coach.

According to the press release from the university, Petersen will not be entirely leaving after the bowl game, which has not been set as of Monday. Instead, he will be remaining with Washington in a leadership advisory role with Husky Athletics.

"It has been a privilege and a professional dream fulfilled to be part of this world-class institution," Petersen said in a statement. "I will forever be grateful, honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to coach our fine young men on Montlake for these past six seasons. I thank each of them, as well as our coaches and administrative staff for the incredible commitment they've made to Husky football during my tenure.

"The football program and Husky Athletics across the board will continue to prosper – and do it the right way – with Jen Cohen's leadership and the University administration's commitment to excellence. I'll be a Husky for life, but now is the right time for me to step away from my head coaching duties, and recharge."

With his tenure in Seattle coming to an end, Petersen finishes his coaching career with a record of 146-38. He spent eight seasons at Boise State, leading the Broncos to a 92-12 record and seven bowl game appearances. The most defining victory of his tenure in Idaho was the upset over the seventh-ranked Oklahoma Sooners in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl.

Following nearly a decade with Boise State, Petersen was hired at UW, where he spent six seasons. He led the Huskies to a 54-26 record, an appearance in the 2016 College Football Playoffs, and a bowl game appearance in all six seasons.

According to the press release, Petersen's career winning percentage of .793 ranks second among active coaches with at least five years of FBS experience. He also achieved 100 career wins (2014) faster than all but four coaches in college football history. He reached this mark in only 117 games.

Under Petersen, the Huskies have consistently compiled grade point averages above 3.0 and have become the PAC-12 leader in the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate. Stanford had been the previous top university.


"Chris has been transformational for not only our football program, but our entire athletic department," Washington's director of athletics, Jennifer Cohen, said. "It has been such a privilege to watch how he has been so committed to the development of our young men, not just on the field, but more importantly off. I can't thank him enough for his service and leadership, and I look forward to having him stay on staff in a leadership advisory role, so he can continue to impact individuals across our department and the entire campus."

(Photo Credit: Abbie Parr/Getty)