Boise State's Chris Petersen Isn't the Right Fit for Cal

Lisa HornePac-12 and Big 12 Lead WriterNovember 29, 2012

Oct 27, 2012; Laramie, WY, USA; Boise State Broncos head coach Chris Petersen before game against the Wyoming Cowboys at War Memorial Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-US PRESSWIRE

Every year Boise State head coach Chris Petersen's name comes up in the coaching carousel. Every damn year. 

When will people learn that he probably isn't coming to your school?

He lives like a king in Boise, Idaho making $1,959,833 a year, according to the latest USAToday college football coaches' salary database. The average median household income in Boise, which has a population of just over 205,000, is $60,678.

Boise is a safe place to live with very low crime rates, and the city has won numerous awards for best place to live in the US. The pace of life is a little slower in Boise, but for young families, it's a pretty neat place to raise your kids. Especially kids with special needs. 

Petersen's son Sam was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was just 13 months old and cancer was later found in his spine. A long surgery, a stem-cell transplant and chemotherapy for Sam while Petersen was preparing to take on the head coaching job at Boise State was more stress than any family should ever have to deal with. Now at 13 years old, all reports seem to indicate that Sam is healthy. 

In 2008, Petersen was interviewed by Dennis Dodd of about the very subject of leaving Boise. "I've never been a big one for moving and uprooting your family," Petersen told Dodd.

But that was four years ago and Petersen's record at Boise State cannot be ignored by schools in a coaching-search mode. The Broncos are 82-8 under Petersen, who's the only coach to have won the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award twice. He also has a 4-2 bowl record including a Fiesta Bowl victory over TCU in January 2010. 

Cal needs a new head coach after Jeff Tedford was dismissed on November 20 and Petersen does have ties to central California.

According to, Petersen's father Ron lives in Yuba City—a two-hour drive from Berkeley—the same city where Chris was born. Petersen also graduated from the University of California, Davis, a school located in central California. The article also states that former Cal coach Jeff Tedford and Chris Petersen are "good friends." 

On Monday, Petersen made a statement about rumors of his potential destination, if any, and basically nixed the idea.

"99.9 percent is always completely false, the problem is 0.1," Petersen said. "But there hasn't even been 0.1."

But CBSSports columnist Bruce Feldman just recently reported that Petersen could be interested in the job: 

A source close to the coach said there are two jobs the UC Davis grad would be tempted by Oregon and Cal. The source, though, added that since Petersen and Tedford are close, the thought of replacing his friend might steer him away from an opportunity to coach the Bears.

A potential deal-breaker for Cal is that the Bay Area is almost the exact opposite of Boise both culturally and geographically—Boise is a very slow-paced, conservative town while Berkeley is one of the bastions of liberalism. Petersen is also a very spiritual man and his fit in an area where secularism is very strong might not woo him enough to make the big move.

True, Cal could pay Petersen more than his current salary but the cost of living in the San Francisco-area would eat up a large portion of his paycheck—San Francisco is third most expensive place to live in the U.S.

Oregon, where Petersen coached for six years as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator, seems like a better fit. Since there are rumors swirling about head coach Chip Kelly possibly leaving the school to go to the NFL, Petersen should and probably will wait this out until January and then weigh his offers, if any.

If both Oregon and Cal offer Petersen a head coaching job, Petersen will most likely take the better fit: Oregon.