Reports had circulated last Saturday that UCLA would target Boise State head coach Chris Petersen to take over the school’s football program. Well, those rumors were correct and the two sides were reportedly in serious talks as recently as Thursday night.
According to reports, Petersen was offered a five-year contract worth more than $3 million annually (some reports have the number closer to $4 million but our sources claim that is a bit high) and would have been provided with an additional $2.5 million for his staff. The discussions were apparently very serious but UCLA was informed late Thursday night that Petersen was no longer a candidate for the job.
How serious a push was UCLA making for Boise State’s coach? Well consider that the recently-fired Rick Neuheisel’s five-year contract paid him just $1.25 million per year.
I’ve talked to two sources who both say that UCLA was hyper-focused on luring Petersen to Westwood and the Bruins expected to get him. This has to be a huge blow, since their other top candidate, Houston’s Kevin Sumlin, has probably already been contacted by other schools (like Arizona State and Texas A&M). The failure to reach a deal with Petersen could leave UCLA behind in the race to fill its coaching vacancy.
Petersen’s current contract pays him $1.5 million per season, with raises of $100,000 each year until 2015.
This isn’t the first time Boise’s coach has turned down a big-money deal. Last year Petersen was reportedly offered $3 million annually by Stanford but quickly turned it down.
Petersen has long said that he is happy at Boise State and is firmly against uprooting his family and moving from the area. That said, I think we can expect him to receive a hefty raise sometime this winter, since UCLA will not be the last team to come calling.