SEATTLE — Chris Petersen has always worked according to his own schedule.
During eight seasons as the head coach at Boise State he brought the Broncos into the elite of college football, never in a rush to land the next big job despite being courted constantly by higher-profile schools.
When he finally decided to jump to Washington in 2013, Petersen realized he needed a new challenge and Boise State needed a new voice in charge.
And now after six seasons leading the Huskies, 14 overall as a head coach and more than 30 years in coaching, Petersen has decided it’s time to step away.
“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,” Petersen said.
Petersen unexpectedly resigned at Washington on Monday, a shocking announcement with the Huskies coming off a 7-5 regular season and bound for a sixth straight bowl game under his leadership. Petersen will coach the Huskies in the bowl game, his final game in charge of the program he helped grow back into national prominence.
Then Washington will be turned over to defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake, who is being promoted and tasked with continuing the Huskies run of success over the past six seasons.
There will be no coaching search. Simply a succession plan that’s seemed to be in place for several years while Lake was being sought for other jobs around the country.
The surprise is the timing.
The school said Petersen, 55, will move into a “leadership advisory role” within the athletic department. Petersen has been one of college football’s most successful coaches over the last two decades, going 146-38 combined during his time at Boise State and Washington. With the Huskies, Petersen has a 54-26 record, won two Pac-12 titles and took Washington to three New Year’s Six bowl games, including an appearance in the national semifinals in 2016 and last year the school’s first Rose Bowl trip since the 2000 season.
Petersen was also unbeaten against rival Washington State.
“It has been a privilege and a professional dream fulfilled to be part of this world-class institution,” Petersen said. “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.”