BOISE — While admitting he hasn’t spent much time reflecting on what he’s accomplished since becoming the head coach at Boise State in 2006, Chris Petersen allowed himself Monday to think back to his first season.
After being promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach after the departure of Dan Hawkins, Petersen’s first season as a head coach went as perfectly as it possibly could have. The Broncos went 13-0 and shocked No. 10 Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
Petersen and the Broncos have ridden the wave from that magical season ever since, turning Boise State into a national power and perennial winner.
The eighth-year head coach will coach his 100th game at Boise State when the Broncos travel to Provo, Utah, for a Friday night matchup with BYU.
“I just think about that first year and timing is everything in life and we had a lot of good players and we were able to keep the system the same,” Petersen said. “Maybe if it wouldn’t have worked so well right out of the gate I’d be sitting with you guys and doing the other thing, being an interviewer and not the interviewee.”
Petersen spent a good chunk of his weekly press conference Monday answering questions about his tenure at Boise State and the strides both he and the program have taken since he took over.
“In some ways it seems like that period of time went really fast, but the days are really long,” Petersen said. “Everything through that process is just such a grind. … The job does not get easier, that’s for sure.”
Petersen takes an 89-10 record as a head coach with him into game No. 100. The Broncos have won at least 10 games in each of his previous seven seasons at the helm and he’s the only coach to win two Paul “Bear” Bryant National Coach of the Year awards.
But despite the success Petersen wouldn’t call his job fun.
“Is anybody’s job fun?” Petersen said. “That’s not how I would describe this situation. There’s certain things I enjoy about it, but like anything, there’s a big chunk of it that is in a lot of ways painful. But there is part of it I really do like.
“It hasn’t gotten easier for me, even though you talk about experience and all those things, but it’s so competitive and it’s so hard and every little thing matters and adds up over time.”
But despite not having fun, Petersen said there’s plenty of things he enjoys about the job that keep him coming back to the office each day.
“Being with the guys, by far,” Petersen said. “I like being with our coaches, I like being with the players. I do like practice a decent amount if we don’t get guys hurt in practice. We like studying tape, game planning and those types of things.”
“There’s no perfect anything out there. It’s all about balance is what I think it’s all about, so that’s the hard thing about this job, keeping balance. Keeping things in perspective, balancing the rest of your life and balancing even your prospective and outlook on how things go around here.”
Petersen, who was unaware that Friday would he his 100th game as head coach, prefers not to look into the future. He doesn’t know what his next career move will be or how much longer he wants to continue coaching.
At least if he does, he’s not saying so publicly.
“We go one at a time around here, that’s how it is,” Petersen said. “One day at a time, one game at a time.
“I don’t know. For me, it’s just always one season at a time and go as hard as you can and then reevaluate.”