Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
For whatever reason, the court of public opinion seemed to have an undying belief that the only school that could budge Chris Petersen from his ivory tower at Boise State was the University of Oregon. I guess I can see where that idea came from...Pete had coached at Oregon briefly and seemed to enjoy his time there, but the idea that a call from Eugene would have him packing his bags was far more based in assumption than reality, and now that the Oregon position has been filled by Mark Helfrich (a move that surprised virtually no one), one has to start wondering if Pete is in this thing for the long haul.
Pete is already viewed as a bit of an anomaly in the college coaching world, having stayed with the Broncos for seven seasons as head man without even taking other offers seriously. And make no mistake...as much as some of these gigs could've been a lateral move competitively—the resources offered by schools like Stanford, Florida, Arkansas and the like far outstrip Boise State's modest means at present. The thing is...Pete isn't your average coach. We know this from his record, no doubt...but could it also be that Pete is different in other ways? You know...ways like caring where his family wants to be, about quality of life, about building a legacy, or maybe even good old-fashioned loyalty? Maybe it's time to stop wringing our hands about Pete's endless line of suitors and start believing what some seem to think is impossible: that Pete wants to be here.
Petersen has said time and again that Boise is a hidden treasure. Most that live in the Treasure Valley have similar feelings...some that grew up here, and others that have adopted it as home. I know that I'm in no hurry to leave this place and I'm not making even half the coin that Pete is. Fact is, Boise State became a destination spot right around the time the Broncos lost their perpetual underdog status and started being a big boy. Boise State is now a marquee game on virtually every opponent's schedule, so why should the head coaching job be viewed any differently? Sure...Pete's not "from here"...but neither is he from Eugene, Madison, Fayetteville or Gainesville. In truth, Pete is, like most of his recruits, a Cali kid, so what makes people think that the Oregon gig topped his bucket list when he'd turned down "home teams" like Stanford and UCLA? My guess is that they feel that Eugene, Oregon fits Pete's sensibilities—otherwise you could say that Pittsburgh, another stop on his coaching journey, is a coveted position for him. But I've been to Eugene...many times. Here's my unbiased opinion: it's got nothing on Boise. Outside of the "Nike complex" that is the University of Oregon—there's nothing Eugene offers that Boise doesn't (hippies?).
Pete's well-compensated to do a job he loves in a city he loves—would you be in a rush to leave? Pete may not reach Paterno or Bowden levels of longevity, but as long as he feels this program is progressing and the administration is supportive—he's not going anywhere. Maybe that sentiment was unbelievable a decade ago, but it's time to start believing.