Nothing more needs to be said. If Dan Guerrero or whomever becomes UCLA's AD in the coming weeks has any sense, Petersen is the obvious and most perfect solution to our head coaching job for the football team.
A quick background on Petersen before lots more after the jump: Petersen is currently the head coach at Boise State. His teams have gone 71-6 since he took over in 2006. He will coach in his sixth bowl game as a head coach this year. This is his sixth year.
Now, for the in-depth part:
Chris Petersen is 47 years old and he played quarterback at UC Davis in the mid-80s. He was born in California. He's a hometown boy, even if he did not attend UCLA. Immediately after graduating from Davis, he became their freshman team's head coach for two years, before two years of being the varsity squad's wide receivers coach. He quickly moved up the ladder in football programs, landing as the wide receivers coach at Oregon in 1995, where he remained until Boise State hired him as their offensive coordinator in 2001. As the OC at Boise, he was twice nominated for assistant coach of the year.
In 2005, the Broncos' head coach, Dan Hawkins, left for Colorado and Petersen was promoted to head coach. So, 2006 was his first year. He was following up six conference championships in the last 7 years, but never any BCS love.
Petersen proceded to go 13-0 in his first year and lead his team to the Fiesta Bowl from a non-AQ conference, the WAC. Obviously, Boise is not a traditional power and was a big underdog against powerhouse Oklahoma. January 1, 2007 would be a day that changed the college football landscape forever.
I will go into this game because it is the biggest reason why I want him as the coach of UCLA. Yes, Petersen recruited and groomed Kellen Moore into the star he is today, but I think after my summary you will understand:
I will preface the game by saying that Oklahoma was a preseason top 5 team with, yes, THE Adrian Peterson on their side. Boise had a tough hill to climb.
Despite that they built a lead through the first three quarters before being outscored 10-8 in the next 14 minutes of the fourth. Then the genius started.
Facing a 4th and 18 with only 18 seconds left and a touchdown needed, Petersen called upon the Circus: His quarterback threw a medium, 15-yard pass to a receiver with a designed lateral to another in stride receiver who caught the ball at the 35 yard line and took it all the way in for the score. Genius. Perfect. Unheard of. Ballsy.
Overtime ensued, as did a quick Adrian Peterson touchdown. Boise got the ball and drove down to the 5, where they were faced with another 4th down. They needed two yards to go, but Petersen went for it all: He called upon another trick play, motioning his quarterback out to the left and the running back to the snap. He ran to his right and tucked the ball like he would run only to pull it back out and throw it to the tight end in the back of the end zone. Caught. Touchdown. Broncos within one. Once again: ballsy.
Petersen easily could have gone for the extra point and tied the game up and moved on, extending his team's improbably run. But no: they went for two. This is called the statue of liberty play. The quarterback took the snap, quickly turned right and made an elaborate pump fake for a screen pass to a wide receiver. The ball, however, was in his non throwing hand, and he held it behind his back where none could see so that his running back could come out of nowhere and take the ball and run in for the easy conversion. This play was pure genius, pure creativity, pure amazing: pure guts.
And thats what it takes to win. You need to have guts if you're going to win in the NCAA. And Petersen has them.
He can recruit: Moore is a perennial Heisman candidate and multiple players, specifically offensive players, have been drafted into the NFL in recent years. His teams always find ways to win no matter the circumstances. They are driven unlike any UCLA football team in recent history. All of the players seem to have a drive to win unlike any other and it has to be that Petersen spurs them on.
Boise had a 'down year' in 2007, going 10-3 and losing in a bowl game. The following season? 12-1 with a bowl win. Year after? 14-0 and another BCS win, again in the Fiesta Bowl. Last year? 12-1 with another bowl win.
Lets face it, Petersen is a proven winner. He has taken a team from the blue turf of Idaho that no one had heard of to BCS bowl games and unbeaten seasons. He can take a team from beautiful Southern California with every resource in the world to the same glorious heights. Petersen has the guts, experience, recruiting, and proven ability to win that we need in our next coach.
Boise State pays Petersen only $1.6 million a year. UCLA pays Neuheisal $1.25 million. Not only can we add that extra 400 thousand dollars, but it is said UCLA is willing to pay up to $3 million, with the floor being $2 million. So we should offer Chris Petersen $3 million. We should offer him a move back closer to home. We should offer him the ample recruiting benefits that come with UCLA. We should offer him the chance to actually win a national championship.
So come on, Dan. Here is your man. Call him up. Make him an offer he can't refuse.
And we can start calling him CCP.