Former Boise State quarterback Bush Hamdan is "fired up" to be back with Chris Petersen as the Huskies' receivers coach.
As he crisscrossed the country from one job to another, Bush Hamdan says he developed a prove-it attitude as a young coach — an attitude he hopes will be reflected in the young players he’s now responsible for at Washington.
From Colorado to Arkansas State to Florida, Hamdan had stops at seven colleges in his first seven years as a coach. He added an eighth different job title this week when he was named the Huskies’ new wide receivers coach.
“I’m fired up,” the 29-year-old former Boise State quarterback said Friday in his first interview since his promotion.
Hamdan’s immediate task is to prepare UW’s young receiving corps for next week’s Heart of Dallas Bowl against Southern Mississippi. Beyond that, his goal is to develop a physical presence and toughness that was too often missing from the position this season, prompting UW coach Chris Petersen to dismiss veteran assistant Brent Pease earlier this month.
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“I’d like to be extremely detailed in everything we do; I’d like to be extremely physical,” said Hamdan, who was the receivers coach at Florida in 2012. “And, for the most part, we’ve got to make plays. I think everyone understands that and that’s what we’re trying to get done. I think there’s going to be a certain edge to this group as we move forward. I really do.”
Last February, Hamdan was wrapping up his first season as the offensive coordinator at Davidson University in North Carolina when he was presented with the chance to reunite with Petersen, one of his mentors, here at UW — albeit in a slimmed-down role. Rarely does a coordinator move across the country to accept a position as a quality-control coach, considered more of an entry-level position. He spent this season studying opposing defenses and working with UW’s young quarterbacks.
“This is probably the only school in the country I would’ve probably came to to be in that quality-control role,” he said. “The biggest thing for me was being around a lot of guys who got me in this profession; the feeling of never (having) been on a Chris Petersen staff was a little weird to me.”
Petersen was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach who recruited Hamdan from Gaithersburg, Md., to Boise. That was, Hamdan said in a self-deprecating tone, his only scholarship offer out of high school.
“I was like a dead-average quarterback — probably a better shortstop,” he said. “Coming out of high school, I didn’t have a ton of options and was fortunate to get an offer from Boise late in the process and next thing you knew I was a West Coast guy.”
Even as Boise’s backup quarterback, Hamdan was twice named the Broncos’ team captain; as a senior in 2008, he backed up redshirt freshman star Kellen Moore. (Hamdan’s older brother, Gibran, played quarterback at Indiana and had two brief stints with the Seahawks in 2005 and ’06.)
He became his coaching career as a student assistant at Colorado in 2009; from there, he moved in successive years to Maryland, Sacramento State, Florida, Arkansas State and then Davidson. “It’s been a long road,” he said.
Along the way, former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen called Hamdan an “up-and-coming star” in the coaching ranks.
“He’s been awesome,” UW offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith said Friday. “He was pretty involved throughout the year, so that hasn’t really changed. He brings new energy that we like. … It was an easy transition for him.”
NOTE: After a five-day break, the Huskies returned to practice Friday evening after the conclusion of fall-term class exams and began installing their game plan for the bowl game. The Huskies will practice again on Saturday and Sunday before leaving for Dallas on Monday.
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