'These are stormy seas': Chris Petersen talks Jen Cohen, Washington's AD search
And no, he doesn't want the job.
You can probably cross Chris Petersen off the list of potential candidates to become Washington’s next athletic director.
Take it from Chris Petersen.
I spoke with the Huskies’ former coach on Tuesday night because I wanted his thoughts on Jen Cohen’s departure for USC, and what UW needs to prioritize as it searches for her replacement. Also, I wanted to ask whether Petersen, 58, could ever see himself as a college AD.
He didn’t laugh, at least.
“It’s the same thing: if I was to go coach another team, do I think I could do a good job? I do. I’d probably be better, with all the things I’ve learned since stepping away, and gaining better perspective and all the places I’ve been,” Petersen said. “But if that’s not what your passion is, and what you’re really excited to do, then you need to figure something else out.
“I would say the same thing (about being an AD). I’ve been around athletics. I’ve never been an athletic director. … Would I know how to navigate some things and how the thing is supposed to work and look, and the leadership part of things? I think I would probably know what that looks like. But that’s not something I have a passion for.”
Could that change?
“I’m very careful to say, ‘never say never,’” he said, and now he does chuckle, just a bit. “But with that being said, yeah, I don’t see that changing any time soon.”
This is unsurprising: since resigning as Washington’s coach in December 2019, Petersen has seemed to enjoy his new life as a consultant and Fox studio analyst. He works with coaches at UW and other schools. He travels. He spends his fall Saturdays watching and talking about football in a television studio. He advised on Cohen’s hire of Kalen DeBoer. He still uses “we” when discussing the Huskies.
Petersen says he has “no idea” whether someone at UW might ask him to advise on the search for Cohen’s replacement. “I’m not sure what that looks like,” he said. “I haven’t had those conversations with anyone.”
It would feel like a miss if they don’t. As a head coach for 14 seasons at two different schools — and the rare football coach who seems more interested in studying general leadership principles than he does studying a playbook — Petersen knows what the AD-coach dynamic should feel like.
Most importantly, he knows what it feels like at Washington.