ESPN personality thinks Chris Petersen is the name for USC

Aritcle written by:Ashton PollardAshton Pollard


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The rumor mill is churning surrounding one of college football’s top jobs, and ESPN personality and former Notre Dame offensive lineman Mike Golic Jr. thinks he has an answer for the USC opening. 

On his weekday afternoon radio show “Chiney and Golic Jr.,” Golic acknowledged a few candidates whose names have been throw into the Twittersphere: Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer and Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin, But Golic thinks pulling a former Pac-12 coach out of retirement should be a serious consideration instead.

Golic borrowed an idea from Yahoo! Sports’ Pete Thamel: former Washington coach Chris Petersen. 

“I’d probably think long and hard about moving heaven and earth to see if you can shake Chris Petersen out of retirement there,” Golic said. “A guy who recruited very well and did well at Washington in the Pac-12, we know his success at Boise. He is a competent coach in a way that feels like having an adult in the room. He does not fit the profile that we talked about about all the Hollywood stuff, but just finding a good coach who can go out there and get the job done should be the entire priority at this point.”

Petersen has a 147-38 record as a head coach, including a 55-26 record from his time in Seattle. His first recruiting class at Washington was ranked No. 38 by 247Sports, and in his final two years with the Huskies, he had back-to-back No. 16 recruiting classes. 

Golic acknowledged that Petersen left Washington because of the stressful nature of a Power Five head coaching job, but says the offer may be too good for him to refuse. 

“For that job, you wonder how hard it would be to say no and if they’ll try and make him tell them no at least,” Golic added.

Petersen was the head coach at Washington from 2014 to 2019 and coached one of just two Pac-12 teams to have made the College Football Playoff to date. After dominating Colorado in the 2016 Pac-12 Championship Game, No. 4 Washington lost 24-7 to top-ranked Alabama in the Peach Bowl. 

Petersen is a California native who played quarterback at UC Davis. Stops in his coaching career included assistant stints at his alma mater, Pittsburgh, Portland State, Oregon and Boise State. In 2006, he became Boise State’s head coach and put them on the national map.

The USC coaching hire will have ramifications across the country

Since USC is one of college football’s blue bloods, the team’s head coach is almost always of national concern. But this time, the coaching search is even more consequential. 

When Oregon beat Ohio State 35-28 last weekend in Columbus, it certainly helped the Pac-12’s ailing brand. However, they still need help. (Nothing showed that more than Stanford beating the Trojans 42-28 after getting trounced by Kansas State a week earlier.)

Golic reflected on what the hire at USC means in the broader college football landscape given the new round of realignment and the Pac-12’s recent struggles to be relevant. 

“This is probably the most important hire for the Pac-12 right now as a conference, for The Alliance that’s trying to stake its claim in college football,” Golic said. 

In August, the Pac-12 joined forces with the Big Ten and the ACC to create an alliance around shared values and that involves scheduling agreements. The details remain murky, and the move was in response to Texas and Oklahoma’s decision to move to the SEC no later than 2025.