Bush Hamdan sighed and shrugged his shoulders. The thought of what September 2 looked like it was bringing his brain to a foreign place
“For me, certainly, it’s not just going to be another game,” Hamdan said. “I’m not going to sit here and say that.”
Next Saturday’s season-opening matchup between Boise State and No. 10 Washington, airing at 1:30 PT on ABC, will mean a little extra for Hamdan, the offensive coordinator for his alma mater facing the team where his career really took off.
After his five-year stint as a reserve quarterback for Boise State, Hamdan began a coaching career that took him from Colorado to Maryland to Sacramento State to Florida to Arkansas State to Davidson then to Washington. He spent the first seven years of his coaching life in seven different states.
His first taste of stability came at Washington when he was promoted from a quality control analyst to a full-time wide receivers coach. He parlayed that into a gig with the Atlanta Falcons before returning as the Huskies’ offensive coordinator in 2018.
“I can’t even remember if I’ve been to the visitor’s locker room,” Hamdan joked about Washington. “I put a lot into that program and we feel we had a lot of success. But, if you coach long enough and you’re at enough places, once that whistle goes, it’s right back to focusing on what you’ve gotta get done.”
The connections between Boise State and Washington run deep. There are three Husky assistant coaches — Julius Brown (CBs) Scott Huff (OL) and Lee Marks (RBs) — who all played and coached at Boise State. Boise State also has two more alums further down the UW coaching list: Taylor Pope (Quality control) and Tyson Maeva (Graduate assistant).
Along with Hamdan, Boise State cornerbacks coach Kane Ioane was a former defensive analyst for the Huskies. Back in the day, too, the Broncos’ hired longtime Washington assistant Skip Hall to be their head coach back in 1987.
And then there’s the big one. You know who it is.
After leading Boise State to a pair of Fiesta Bowls and a 92-12 record, Chris Petersen left the Treasure Valley in 2014 for a bigger opportunity in the Pacific Northwest. In six seasons guiding the Huskies, Coach Pete got Washington to three New Year’s 6 bowl games and a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Today’s interview with Chris Petersen … https://t.co/bb7hLqDO9S
— KTIK 95.3 FM The Ticket (@KTIK_953FM) August 25, 2023
He will not be in attendance next Saturday when his two former teams meet at Husky Stadium. The former head coach will be inside the FOX studios in Southern California, where Petersen works as an analyst during the college football season.
Petersen said he’s only been to one college football game — last year’s Fiesta Bowl between Michigan and TCU — since he retired from coaching after the 2019 season. There are plenty of games he wishes he attended. Next Saturday’s matchup between his two former schools is not one of them.
“This one, I’m glad I don’t even have the opportunity (to be there),” Petersen told KTIK The Ticket on 95.3 FM. “I am Switzerland on this game. I wave the flag. I am neutral.”
“It’s going to be such a great game, such a great atmosphere,” Petersen continued. “I think it’s an early afternoon game, right? I mean, on the water. The sun will be out. Two good teams. Washington being highly ranked. You know how Boise State is going to come in and battle and play really well — that’s just what the Broncos do. It’s gonna be awesome.”
Peterson praised both Hamdan and Boise State head coach Andy Avalos, both of whom he hired at one point or another. He watched from afar last season as Boise State endured offensive woes before Avalos fired offensive coordinator Tim Plough and had Dirk Koetter fill in for a half-season.
“I didn’t see a better coaching job anywhere in the country,” Petersen said of Koetter. “When things start going south and you lose your starting quarterback, you’ve gotta make a change at offensive coordinator — I mean, those are such tough times. Andy had to make a hard decision and you’re like, ‘Oh boy,’ and the beauty is Dirk was sitting right there.”
Having been out of the business for almost four years now, Petersen sounds content. He vehemently denied any interest in taking over as Washington’s Athletic Director following Jen Cohen’s departure to USC. But when asked on KTIK about a possible return to coaching, Petersen didn’t rule it out.
“Do I think I’m coming back to coaching? I mean, I like my life a lot right now and it’s more crazy than when I actually was coaching, so I don’t necessarily envision that,” Petersen said.
“I’ve never said this before, if I was going back to coaching, I don’t think it would be at the college level. It would probably be at the NFL level — just because you know what you’re doing there. You know the rules you’re playing by. You understand how this thing’s laid out.”