Washington coach Chris Petersen will step down after the Huskies’ bowl game and be replaced by defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake, the school announced Monday.
As part of the shocking announcement, the school said Petersen, 55, will transition into a “leadership advisory role” within the athletic department.
“It has been a privilege and a professional dream fulfilled to be part of this world-class institution,” Petersen said in a statement. “I will forever be grateful, honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to coach our fine young men on Montlake for these past six seasons.
“I thank each of them, as well as our coaches and administrative staff for the incredible commitment they’ve made to Husky football during my tenure. The football program and Husky Athletics across the board will continue to prosper — and do it the right way — with [athletic director] Jen Cohen’s leadership and the University administration’s commitment to excellence. I’ll be a Husky for life, but now is the right time for me to step away from my head coaching duties, and recharge.”
A source close to Petersen told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg that Petersen is healthy and has no family issues. The season really wore on him, the source said. Peterson will be in an administrative role working with leadership development for coaches and players
Petersen arrived at Washington prior to the 2014 season and led the Huskies to a pair of Pac-12 titles and a berth in the College Football Playoff in 2016. His career record of 146-38 includes eight seasons at Boise State, where he famously led the Broncos to a pair of Fiesta Bowl victories and four top-10 finishes in the AP poll.
Lake has been on Petersen’s staff since 2012 at Boise State, was promoted to co-defensive coordinator in 2016 and has been the Huskies’ sole defensive coordinator the past two seasons. He previously coached defensive backs for six years in the NFL with the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He will receive a five-year contract that starts at $3 million and includes raise by $100,000 in each of the next four years. His contract will also include academic and performance-related incentives. If Lake were to leave for another coaching job in college or professional football on or before Jan. 31, 2022, he would owe Washington $6 million.
“I could not be more excited about taking over as head football coach at the University of Washington,” Lake said in a statement. “I’ve been dreaming of this opportunity for as long as I can remember and I can’t think of a better place to do it than in the world-class city of Seattle and at such a prestigious university with a rich football tradition. This wouldn’t be possible without the mentorship of Coach Petersen and I would like to thank him for everything he has done for me, as well as Jen Cohen for entrusting me with this opportunity.”
Washington went 7-5 during the regular season and 4-5 in conference play.