Boise State officials fear losing coach

BOISE, Idaho -- Fearful of losing the football coach who is taking Boise State to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, the school's president and athletic director plan to meet this month to find a way to give Chris Petersen a raise.

Petersen is in his first year as head coach and has said he has no interest in leaving.

But administrators don't want to take any chances with losing Petersen after he guided the Broncos (12-0) to the Fiesta Bowl, where they will play Big 12 champion Oklahoma (11-2) on Jan. 1 in Glendale, Ariz.

"I'm particularly impressed with Pete's very candid approach to how he feels about this university and his interest in staying here," BSU president Bob Kustra told the Idaho Statesman. "We cannot take that for granted. I want Coach Petersen to be every bit the competitive-salaried football coach that he deserves to be."

Petersen signed a five-year, $2.5 million contract earlier this year and will make at least $641,666 this year thanks to various bonuses. Because his team won at least 10 games this season, his base salary next year is $575,000.

But the average salary for a Division 1-A coach is $950,000, and Petersen's counterpart at the Fiesta Bowl, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, makes $3.45 million.

"Maybe in the ideal world it wouldn't be the way it is," Kustra said. "But I'm going to operate in the real world."

Petersen is the first to qualify a Western Athletic Conference team for a Bowl Championship Series game. The Broncos are only the second team from a non-BCS conference to get into a BCS game, following Utah in 2004.

"It's nice to feel like, 'Hey, they want to do whatever to keep me and our staff here,'" Petersen said. "That's appreciated. It makes you want to be here even more. The best organizations work in a proactive manner."

On Monday, Idaho lost first-year coach Dennis Erickson to Arizona State. Erickson, who had signed a five-year contract with Idaho a year ago only to leave after one season, was 4-8 this year with the Vandals.