Dan Hawkins, Dirk Koetter Prove Chris Petersen Is Wise to Remain at Boise State
Dan Hawkins was fired Monday night as head coach at Colorado, two days after his team gave up 35 points in the 4th quarter blowing a 45-17 lead against Kansas. Many people feel the move was well overdue and that the Buffs delayed the firing because they couldn’t afford to buy out Hawkins’ contract earlier. The firing of Hawkins completes the cycle of failure for coaches following their departure from Boise State.
Hawkins was promoted to head coach at Boise State after serving as an assistant to Dirk Koetter who left for Arizona State. After going 8-4 in his first season, Hawkins had three straight one-loss years, going 12-1, 13-1, and 11-1 including a 2-1 record in bowl games. They went 9-4 in his final season in 2005 before he left for Colorado. In five seasons at Boise State, Hawkins was 53-11 with four conference titles, a 31-game conference winning streak, and three WAC Coach of the Year awards. Wanting a new challenge of bigger and better things, Hawkins moved on to Colorado taking over for Gary Barnett.
Hawkins’ tenure at Colorado was forgettable. The team went 19-39 in his four-plus years including a putrid 10-27 Big 12 record. The closest he came to a winning record was going 6-7 in his second season with the 7th loss coming in the bowl game. Prior to Hawkins leaving Boise State, it was Dirk Koetter who made the fatal move.
Koetter had been the offensive coordinator at Oregon before moving over to Boise State in 1998. He went 6-5 his first year with the Broncos, then 10-3 and 10-2, winning the Humanitarian Bowl twice. Boise State was just getting rolling before Dirk left for Arizona State to replace Bruce Snyder. Koetter spent six seasons in Tempe posting a 40-34 record including a 21-28 mark in conference play. The best season he had was a 9-3 year in 2004, but the team also had two losing seasons with him as head coach. After getting fired by Arizona State, Koetter moved on to the NFL and has been serving as Jacksonville’s offensive coordinator since.
The desire to move on and accept new challenges got the best of Hawkins and Koetter, but Chris Petersen has decided to make Boise State a destination rather than a launching spot. Petersen was an assistant at Oregon and then became the offensive coordinator at Boise State under Dan Hawkins. When Hawkins left for Colorado Petersen became the head coach. All he did was go 13-0 in his first season, 35-1 in WAC games, and 57-4 overall since taking over the program.
Petersen has been chased by multiple large programs since achieving success at Boise State yet he has remained with the Broncos the entire time. He knows he’s taken a successful program and turned it into a powerhouse and there isn’t much upside to leaving for another job. Plus, Boise State is moving to the Mountain West and is inching closer towards becoming a respected BCS team. Though curiosity often makes us want to try new challenges, Petersen knows it doesn’t get much better than dominating on a yearly basis at Boise State.