In what can only be categorized as a surprising college football coaching carousel bombshell, the University of Washington announced Monday afternoon that Chris Petersen is stepping down from his role.
Petersen will transition into an advisory role in the athletic department after the Huskies bowl game. Defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake has been named the team's new head coach.
Peterson went 54-26 in six years at Washington and led the school to a College Football Playoff appearance, a Fiesta Bowl, and a Rose Bowl. He took over in 2014 after eight years at Boise State, where he compiled a 92-12 mark.
"It has been a privilege and a professional dream fulfilled to be part of this world-class institution," Petersen said in a release. "I will forever be grateful, honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to coach our fine young men on Montlake for these past six seasons. I thank each of them, as well as our coaches and administrative staff for the incredible commitment they've made to Husky football during my tenure. The football program and Husky Athletics across the board will continue to prosper – and do it the right way – with Jen Cohen's leadership and the University administration's commitment to excellence. I'll be a Husky for life, but now is the right time for me to step away from my head coaching duties, and recharge."
Petersen leaves with a career .793 winning percentage, second-highest among active FBS coaches with five-plus years experience. He's widely recognized as one of the best at the job in the entire country and, at 55, figured to have another decade ahead of him.
Washington is clearly trying to keep as much continuity as possible with Lake taking over. Still a major surprise.