Chris Petersen Keeps The Media Busy

On what is usually a slow news week, Charlottesville’s Daily Progress set off a minor-firestorm Thanksgiving with an article entitled “Petersen to coach Cavs?”  In said piece, columnist Jerry Ratcliffe and co-writer Jay Jenkins reported that:

  • it “appears that Boise State coach Chris Petersen is the leading candidate to become Virginia’s next head football coach”
  • Petersen “reportedly been frustrated the past couple of years with the salaries of his assistant coaches and has unsuccessfully campaigned his athletic director and the Western Athletic Conference office to improve those wages. ‘If Chris Petersen were to leave Boise State, that would be one of, if not the major reason for his exit,’ said one source in Boise on Wednesday.”
  • “Petersen earns a salary of $850,000 annually, a figure that would likely be doubled in order to lure him to Virginia.”
  • “Another factor working in UVa’s favor is associate senior athletic director Jon Oliver, a Boise State graduate, who was in Boise for the Broncos’ season-opening win over Oregon in early September. While Oliver played basketball at Boise State, he was in Boise for the football reunion weekend. According to sources, Oliver and Petersen have been good friends for years.”

Within hours, Idaho Statesman columnist Brian Murphy attempted to separate fact from fiction on his blog and pointed out that:

  • Petersen’s base salary for 2009 is actually $1.1 million, and he will earn between a 5-19% raise and up to $237k in bonuses based on performance
  • “Petersen’s buyout drops by $200,000 to $550,000 after the Broncos’ bowl game this year,” and “expires after the 2010 bowl game, which could push Boise State to re-negotiate this offseason.”
  • “Boise State’s assistants are the highest-paid among any team in a conference that does not have an automatic berth in the Bowl Championship Series.”
  • The assistants make more than some BCS schools, including Colorado, Cal, and yes, Virginia.  “Boise State’s total package for all assistants is $1.57 million. According to USA Today database of coaches’ salaries, Virginia’s assistants earn a total of $1.55 million.”
  • “Petersen spent one season as an assistant coach at Pittsburgh and has said the experience of being on the East Coast felt foreign. The rest of his coaching experience is in the West, mostly in the Northwest.”

Later in the day, Ratcliffe’s weekly ACC column scattershot the following “while noting that Boise-area media have already gone on the defensive”:

  • “It has been pointed out by Boise media that we had Petersen’s salary wrong. True.”
  • Virginia’s collective assistant coach salary total is “”skewed because special teams coordinator Ron Prince unselfishly took a much lower salary than he could have demanded” and “the Cavaliers are essentially paying for only one coordinator because Groh serves as defensive coordinator.”
  • “Perhaps the most important factor in the entire story was completely ignored: Jon Oliver, UVa’s executive associate director of athletics… we received some bad information that Oliver and Petersen were friends.”

As Oliver told noted media gadfly Jeff White of “Although I’m a huge fan of Boise State football, I’ve never met Chris Petersen.”


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3 Responses to “Chris Petersen Keeps The Media Busy”

  1. Captain Hoo Says:

    Here’s some scoop you can post that I can’t write….but it’s oh so true.

    Oliver said he has never met Petersen, but there’s an assistant coach in Boise who confirmed that Oliver and Petersen ran up a $300 bar tab in Boise…..Oliver picked it up.

    Also, Jeff White told someone today that what he wrote in his blog…..he was “told” what to write.

    There’s where he just lost any journalistic integrity or credibility that he had……now we know the difference between working for a newspaper and working for a university.

    • Jeff White Says:

      Capt. Hoo,

      That’s some fine investigative reporting on your part. I wish I’d had your sources when I worked at the T-D. I might have won a Pulitzer.

      So it goes ….


  2. Captain Hoo Says:

    you know it’s true. When you ran your column at the TD, you were perhaps the best UVa beat writer in the state … now you are a puppet. Man up and confront someone besides Jay Jenkins.

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