Chris Petersen

UW’s Petersen on the Hot Seat?

Mike Merrell’s Three-and-Out As reported by ESPN at the recent Pac-12 Media Days, Washington coach Chris Petersen turned the tables and begged the dogs — to not get their expectations up too high. It’s not false modesty. It’s an honest...

Around the Pac-12: What We Learned From Friday

Two Pac-12 teams were in action on Friday night in the first official weekend of College Football. Once again, #Pac12AfterDark prevailed. The Oregon State Beavers were one of the teams in action to pick up a win. Weber State: 7 Oregon State: 26 The Gary Andersen era got off to an impressive start in Corvallis […]

Around the Pac-12: What We Learned From Friday – Autzen Zoo – Autzen Zoo – An Oregon Ducks Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and more.

Football Coaches and Musical Chairs

Mike Merrell’s Three-and-Out A long time ago I was presented with a riddle that involved a war in the Middle East and went something like this: You take a hand-held calculator and add up or multiply this and that representing…

Is This the Year for the Huskies?

Mike Merrell’s Three-and-Out No. I first wrote the above one-word article on August 26, 2013 and it has been sitting unpublished in the archives ever since. Though only one word long, the article proved to be spot-on for 2013,...

Three Challenges for Three Coaches: Sarkisian, Petersen, Helfrich

Every football program and every coach wants to win. Unfortunately, the way the game is structured, there are always going to be as many losers as winners. So, we fans should be happy if our team wins more than half...

The Pac-12 Days of Christmas

*Please note that this story is completely fictitious, and meant to be nothing more than a satirical look at the Conference of Champions. Any and all references, conversations, and situational humor is strictly fiction, and in no way depicts any...

Washington: “If You Can’t Slow Them Down a Little Bit, it’s Going to be a Long Evening”

After the dust had settled on the field and the Oregon Ducks had come out victorious, Washington Huskies’ head coach Chris Petersen said that the loss was “pretty disappointing.” He went on to say that...

Coaching Carousel: The 5 Biggest Coaching Changes Around the Pac-12

The off season always brings about a deluge of coaching changes around the college football world.  Some coaches get fired during the season, such as Lane Kiffin at USC, but aren’t replaced until the dust has settled on the final games of the year, while others, like our very own Nick Allioti, retire gracefully after long, successful careers.

No matter the situation, or how carefully it is handled, it always leaves the program in state of flux. Hiring the next coach, whether the main man himself, a coordinator or a position coach, can mean taking the next step toward dominating in the conference or starting the downward spiral that can take years to pull out of.  The Pac-12 this off season has sprung about a coaching carousel with surprise hires, leaving many heads spinning.

5. Lane Kiffin to Steve Sarkisian

After just a few games, it was not a matter of 'if', but 'when' for Kiffin.

After just a few games, it was not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’ for Kiffin.

The Pac-12′s first vacancy of the year opened up all the way back in September when USC fired head coach Lane Kiffin after a 3-2 start to the season.  The position wasn’t filled permanently until the beginning of December, when the Trojans hired then-Washington head coach, Steve Sarkisian, who is commonly known around the Pac-12 as “Seven-win Steve,” due to not winning more than seven games in a season until getting to eight this past regular season.

Sarkisian’s qualifications for the job include:

"Seven-win Steve..."  It has a nice ring to it.

“Seven-win Steve . . .” It has a nice ring to it.

  • Losing at least four conference games every season since becoming head coach.
  • Being the coach for half of Oregon’s current (ten year!) win streak against  Washington.
  • Owning a career winning percentage lower than Lane Kiffin (Sarkisian .539, Kiffin .586).

USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron resigned the day after Sarkisian was hired, which was met with some discord from players.  Trojan’s freshmen star Su’a Cravens tweeted out “Coach O can never be replaced!”  The LA Times meanwhile pointed out that noted USC fan and official nutball Scott Wolf had a minor meltdown at the hiring, tweeting “‘Winning’ is obviously not a qualification for hiring the next #USC coach for Pat Haden.”

4. Sarkasian to Chris Petersen

Sarkisian’s move to the Trojan opened up the position of Head Puppy at the University of Washington.  Surprisingly, UW managed to go out and do what USC didn’t, and pull Chris Petersen away from Boise.  Now it’s anyone’s guess how Petersen will fare moving from a weak Mountain West Conference, where he’d built Boise State into a powerhouse, to the Pac-12 North, which arguably could be the toughest division in the Nation this coming season — facing both Oregon & Stanford, two guaranteed top 10 teams.

3. Tosh Lupoi leaves Washington

Number one?  Very premature, but a definite improvement.

Number one? Very premature, but a definite improvement.

Tosh Lupoi, universally considered one of the best recruiters in the PAC 12, parted ways with the University of Washington. For those who don’t subscribe to the rumor mill, it’s been rumored that Steve Sarkisian wanted to take Lupoi to USC with him to coach the defensive line, but Lupoi had a steep buyout of $400,000 that dissuaded USC from hiring him.

Soon after, it was revealed the Lupoi was under investigation by the NCAA.  Lynnwood High School coach Mike Davis said that Lupoi paid $4,500 for tutoring classes for UW recruit Andrew Basham.  Under this cloud, Lupoi and the University reached a “mutual separation agreement” which paid Lupoi $300,000 to leave the University.

2. Bo Davis leaving the herd already?

The Coaching Carousel spins nowhere faster than in the Land of Troy.

The Coaching Carousel spins nowhere faster than in the Land of Troy.

In one of the stranger and funnier college football hiring situation, former Texas defensive line coach Bo Davis was hired at USC for the same position.  A week later, however, he jumped ship and took the same position at Alabama.  Davis was widely seen as Sarkisian’s backup plan after Orgeron resigned and he was unable to bring Lupoi in.

In reaction to Davis’s leaving, Sarkisian told the LA Times, “Obviously, we had a little bit of a hiccup.”

1. Nick Allioti to Don Pellum

Coach Aliotti -- It's been a heck of a ride.

Coach Aliotti — It’s been a heck of a ride.

Finally we reach the coaching transition most important to Oregon, the resignation of Nick Aliotti.  Days before the Ducks took on Texas at the Alamo Bowl, Coach Aliotti announced his decision to retire after spending 24 years as a Duck.  The Ducks helped Coach Aliotti bow out in typical Duck fashion, and the search for a new Defensive Coordinator began in earnest.

Immediately a few names began to pop up.  Oregon defensive back’s coach John Neal was considered a top candidate, alongside Utah State DC Todd Orlando and former USC/Cal DC Clancy Pendergast.  It wasn’t until multiple media outlets reported Don Pellum was expected to be hired as the next Duck Defensive Coordinator, that people took a closer look at the man who has coached duck defenders for 21 years.  As it was revealed, Pellum has great recruiting connections to Southern California and has done great things with formerly unknown recruits.  His coaching was key to developing Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger into NFL players.

The new DC, Coach Pellum

The new DC, Coach Pellum.

To fill the gap in the outside linebackers position, the Ducks hired former Oregon Graduate Assistant and current Philadelphia Eagles assistant defensive line coach, Erik Chinander.

Michael Fletcher, a safety for the Ducks from 1996-1999 told OregonLive about Pellum’s hiring: “If you’re sitting in a meeting with coach Pellum, you realize how cerebral he was and how much of the game he knows.  It’s incredible.  He can have you picture things that you’ve never seen before on the field and it makes sense.  He makes players buy into what he’s selling.”

With eight months to go before the start of the 2014-2015 season, let’s see how many more stops the Coaching Carousel will make.

Top Photo Courtesy the Valero Alamo Bowl

Boise State Coach Chris Petersen Hired at Washington


The west-coast coaching carousel is now in full swing as Boise State coach Chris Petersen has agreed to terms with the Washington Huskies to be their new head football coach.

Chris Petersen will be the new coach of the Washington Huskies. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Chris Petersen will be the new coach of the Washington Huskies. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Following Steve Sarkisian’s first 8-win season in his young career, USC hired the Washington head coach to lead the illustrious program, leaving a vacancy for the Huskies. Sarkisian coached at Washington for five full years after five previous years as an assistant at USC, and he’ll take over for interim head coach Ed Orgeron.

Meanwhile, in Seattle, Petersen takes to the northwest and the Pac-12 with his coaching stock as high as it could probably be. After seven consecutive 10-win seasons, the Broncos under Petersen have had one “off” year in 2013 where they lost four games and look headed for the Poinsettia Bowl. Considering the recent past, this is a bit of a disappointment, but still would be a great season in the history of the program.

Though Boise made a name for itself with its blue field and big calls against Oklahoma in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl, it has maintained that status with the long tenure of Petersen. In 104 career games with the Broncos, he won 92 of them — an amazing record in any conference. Because while the very real talking point was always that Boise succeeded largely because of its favorable conference schedule, it’s impossible to win that many games without being a great coach.

With Jim Mora reviving UCLA’s program and Todd Graham putting the ASU Sun Devils in the 2013 Pac-12 title game, new coaches are upping the ante in the conference and Petersen only adds to that.