There’s a coaching change in the Pac-12, but not that coaching change.
Washington announced this morning that Petersen, 55, has resigned his post, effective after the Huskies’ bowl game, and will slide into an advisory position.
Defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake takes over the big chair.
Wow, wow, wow.
• There was clearly something missing from the Huskies this season.
Was it directly related to Petersen’s looming departure, which was obviously planned in advance (and possibly well in advance)? We can’t guess.
But it’s hard to believe that Petersen’s state of mind had zero indirect impact on his program, on his staff and his players.
• Promoting Lake was the easy move and the only move for athletic director Jen Cohen, and a good one for the Pac-12:
It keeps one of the top recruiters and coaches in the conference.
• The way it was all orchestrated — a huge surprise and yet immaculately planned — was just like Petersen’s greatest trick play: The Statue of Liberty against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
• Petersen’s arrival in the Pac-12 in 2014 was a landscape-altering development, shifting the balance of power to the Northwest and reigniting one of the west coast’s most storied programs.
For three consecutive years, from 2016-18, the Huskies played in New Year’s Six bowls and were the conference’s torchbearer.
• Petersen’s legacy cannot be limited to his six seasons in Seattle, obviously.
But it’s larger, too, than his eight stunning years at Boise State and overall winning percentage of 79.3 and conference titles and New Year’s bowl berths.
It’s the totality — not only what he did for the Broncos and the Huskies but for the Mountain West and the Pac-12 … for what became the Group of Five … and for all of college football in the west.
Boise State’s breakthrough in the second half of the 2000s came as the USC dynasty was beginning its slide.
Petersen’s sustained success, along with the ascents by Oregon and Stanford, helped keep football in the western third of the country relevant nationally and set a standard for other programs.
His legacy is as large as the void that would have existed without him.