Chris Petersen, now in his eighth season as the head coach at Boise State and 13th overall in Boise, is one of the most coveted coaches in college football. His name surfaces every winter on some athletic director’s wish list, and he’s been linked to several prominent jobs in the Pac-12 Conference.
In January 2011, he spurned an overture from Stanford for its head-coaching job. In December 2011, he turned down a reported five-year, $15 million offer from UCLA. On Monday, Petersen withdrew his name from consideration for the USC opening, just before it was filled by Steve Sarkisian.
Will Washington be the one Pac-12 program to reel him in? UW has offered to make Petersen one of the highest-paid coaches in the Pac-12, multiple sources told The Seattle Times.
Petersen is scheduled to make about $2.2 million this season at Boise State.
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Multiple reports said UW athletic director Scott Woodward was in Boise to interview Petersen on Thursday, which was first reported by Bruce Feldman of CBSsports.com.
An ESPN report said UW had an interview scheduled on Thursday with Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who held the same job at UW from 2009 to 2011.
The Seattle Times on Wednesday identified Petersen and Nussmeier as the apparent front-runners for the UW job, which came open when Sarkisian left for Los Angeles after five years with the Huskies.
Petersen, 49, is a two-time national coach of the year. The Broncos are 92-12 under Petersen, with wins in two BCS bowl games and a 2-0 record against Oregon.
Despite other apparent opportunities, he has been reluctant to leave the comforts of small-market Boise.
“It’s all about the fit,” Petersen said in July interview with CBSsports.com’s Feldman. “There’s so many beautiful things about certain places. But then you think about, what are your strengths and weaknesses? And what do you want more of or less of?
“I know this: You’re just trading one set of problems for another wherever you are,” he added.
Pinkel stays put
Count Gary Pinkel out of UW’s search. The former UW assistant coach told ESPN radio on Thursday that he is staying at Missouri. “I coached there (Washington) for 12 years, and Don James is my mentor,” Pinkel told ESPN’s Mike & Mike show. “I’ll be quite frank: I’m staying at the University of Missouri. I, with the administration’s help, will continue to build a national program in a quest for a national championship.”
Missouri plays Auburn in the SEC championship game on Saturday. Pinkel has a 101-62 record at Missouri since 2001.
Pinkel, 61, spent 13 seasons on Don James’ staff at UW, first as a graduate assistant in 1976 and then as an assistant and coordinator from 1979 to 1990.
• Washington linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Peter Sirmon is following Sarkisian to USC, a UW source said Thursday. The buyouts for defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi remain a hurdle, but Sarkisian wants them on his USC staff, sources have said. Wilcox has a $1 million buyout of his UW contract. Lupoi has a $410,000 buyout. Wilcox interviewed for the UW head-coaching job on Wednesday.
Quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo was named the interim coach later in the day, the school announced.
Sirmon is the third UW assistant to leave for Los Angeles, joining running backs coach Johnny Nansen and defensive backs coach Keith Heyward.
• Austin Seferian-Jenkins submitted paperwork to an NFL draft evaluation committee. The junior tight end said Sarkisian leaving for USC has no impact on whether he’ll return to Washington or enter the draft.
“You play for the guys next to you and not for the coach,” Seferian-Jenkins said.
Staff reporter Percy Allen contributed to this report. Adam Jude: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org