Coach Chris Petersen
Success has come at extraordinary levels for Boise State head football coach Chris Petersen during his five years guiding the program. Under Petersen the Broncos have averaged 12 wins per season, including two undefeated seasons, while winning four Western Athletic Conference Championships and two Tostitos Fiesta Bowls.
Petersen’s record of 60-5 (92.3%) gives him the best winning percentage amongst active coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision. It is also the second-best mark amongst active coaches in all of football, regardless of the division.
Boise State concluded the 2010 regular season once again in dominating fashion, compiling an 11-1 overall record (7-1 WAC) en route to capturing a share of the WAC title. After starting the season ranked No. 5 by both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches’ polls, Petersen saw his Broncos earn the highest national ranking in program history reaching No. 2 in both polls. Boise State also reached its highest ever Bowl Championship Series ranking at No. 3.
The Broncos have ranked in the top 20 in both major polls every week since Oct. 1, 2008, a streak of 35-consecutive games, and has been ranked in the top 25 at some point for nine-consecutive seasons. Boise State has also made 29 consecutive appearances in the BCS standings, the second-longest active streak in the country and tied for the eight-longest streak in the history of the rankings.
Petersen led the Broncos into 2010 riding high on momentum following one of the greatest seasons in school history in 2009. Petersen, who has a career record of 60-5 for a .923 winning percentage, guided last year’s Boise State team to its fourth undefeated regular season in six years, its seventh WAC championship in eight seasons, and finished the season with a No. 4 ranking by the Associated Press. The Broncos capped the season by winning their second Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Championship in four years.
Following the outstanding 2009 campaign Petersen was named Paul “Bear” Bryant National Coach of the Year, and WAC Coach of the Year for the second time. Petersen earned his first Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year award following his first year as an intercollegiate head coach in 2006. Boise State also went undefeated that year ending the season with another win at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (43-42 over Oklahoma). Petersen is the only person to win the Bear Bryant award twice. He was also a finalist in 2008.
In addition to winning the Bryant award that year, Petersen was a finalist for the ’06 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award, a semifinalist for the George Munger Coach of the Year award, and was named the Region 4 Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association.
He won his first WAC Coach of the Year Award after guiding the 2008 Broncos to a 12-1 overall record, a league championship and an appearance in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
In his five seasons at Boise State, “Coach Pete” has clearly established himself as one of the top football coaches in the country, leading the Broncos to two BCS bowl games and a consistent presence in the national rankings each of those years. Under Petersen, Boise State has compiled an impressive 38-2 record in the WAC with a league championship in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010, and a runner-up finish in ’07.
Considered one of the most innovative offensive minds in the college coaching ranks, Petersen and his staff has guided an offense that continues to be among the nation’s best.
Boise State boasted one of the nation’s top offenses in 2010 as the Broncos finished the regular season second nationally in scoring offense (46.67 ppg) and pass efficiency (182.48), fourth in total offense (519.50 ypg) and sacks allowed (.58), sixth in passing offense (319.42 ypg) and 24th in rushing offense (200.08 ypg).
As the ninth head coach in the 40-year history of Boise State’s football participation at the four-year level, Petersen led the ’06 Broncos to their first undefeated season since 1958 (when the school was still a junior college), their first-ever BCS bowl berth, and their fifth straight WAC title. In the history of college football, only one coach since 1900 won 13 games in his first season at the helm of an FBS team. That coach was Petersen in 2006.
Prior to taking over the top coaching position at Boise State in 2006, Petersen was offensive coordinator for the Broncos from 2001-05. During his stint as offensive coordinator the Boise State offense featured one of the most potent attacks in the country, averaging 41.3 points per game while also finishing as the nation’s top scoring team twice (2002 and 2003).
As Boise State’s offensive coordinator, he was twice (2002 and 2004) a finalist for the Broyles Award, which honors the nation’s top assistant football coach.
Several players have excelled individually under Petersen in his five years as head coach; the most recent example is redshirt junior quarterback Kellen Moore.
In three seasons at Bronco signal caller Moore has already rewrote the Boise State record books. Moore is currently the school’s all-time leader in career passing yards (10,528), pass completions (803), touchdown passes (97) and 200-yard passing games (33). Moore also enters the bowl game tied for first in career pass attempts (1,181) at Boise State.
Moore received unprecedented individual recognition for his outstanding junior campaign as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, as well as the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien Awards. Moore was also named WAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year after guiding Boise State to its third conference title. Moore finished the regular season ranked second nationally in pass efficiency rating (185.0), completing 245-of-345 passes for 3,506 yards, 33 touchdowns with just five interceptions.
In Petersen’s five years as head coach, 35 of his players were named first-team All-WAC and 21 others were selected second-team all-conference. Petersen has also seen several of his players earn All-America honors, both as head coach and offensive coordinator. Moore (2009), cornerback Kyle Wilson (2009), offensive tackle Ryan Clady (2007), running back Ian Johnson (2006), linebacker Korey Hall (2006), offensive tackle Daryn Colledge (2004) and Brock Forsey (2002) all achieved All-American honors under Petersen.
Petersen came to Boise State as former head coach Dan Hawkins’ offensive coordinator following the 2000 season from the University of Oregon, where he was the wide receivers coach. Prior to working at Oregon, Petersen served as the quarterbacks coach at Portland State from 1993-1994. In 1992 Petersen was the quarterbacks coach at the University of Pittsburgh.
Petersen’s success as a coach can be linked to his record-setting career as a quarterback at the University of California, Davis. As a senior with the Aggies, he was named the Northern California Athletic Conference Player of the Year and was the top-rated Division II quarterback in the nation. Petersen received second-team Kodak Division II All-America honors and still holds the Division II record for career pass completions at 69.6 percent. Petersen was inducted into the UC Davis Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Davis in 1988, Petersen started his coaching career at his alma mater, serving as UC Davis’ head freshman coach in 1987-88 and the receivers coach from 1989-91. Petersen holds a master’s degree in educational psychology from UC Davis. He and his wife, Barbara, are the parents of two sons, Jack (14) and Sam (11).