By Christian Caple The News Tribune
SEATTLE — It appears Washington’s coaching search will involve two candidates whose names have been connected with the vacancy since Steve Sarkisian departed on Monday for USC.
Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com reported on Thursday afternoon that Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier was scheduled to interview for the UW job Thursday, and that Boise State head coach Chris Petersen was scheduled to interview today, although CBS Sports reported it may have happened Thursday night.
UW officials are not commenting on the search until its completion.
BSU president Bob Kustra, in a Thursday statement to local media in Boise, said: “We are fully committed to Coach Petersen remaining at Boise State and, as always, intend to do everything in our power to support him as Boise State’s football coach.”
Petersen’s buyout is $750,000, as stipulated in the new deal he reached with BSU in 2012. That’s half of what Sarkisian — or USC — owes UW for bolting from his contract.
Petersen is paid a salary of about $2.15 million, according to USA Today’s coaching salary figures, and that’s in addition to an annual $250,000 licensing fee, according to contract figures reported last year by the Idaho Statesman.
He has led Boise State to a 92-12 record in eight seasons since taking over as coach in 2006. Petersen’s name has been connected with many openings at schools with deeper pockets and higher profiles than Boise State, and he has deflected overtures from every suitor.
Petersen, 49, was reportedly in the mix for the USC job before removing his name from contention last week, which has led some to question why he would interview at UW.
Nussmeier, 42, a Portland native and former Idaho quarterback, worked at UW under Sarkisian from 2009-11 as offensive coordinator, though Sarkisian called the team’s offensive plays. Alabama hired Nussmeier for the same position in 2012 — with play-calling duties — and he is considered one of the top offensive assistants in the country.
According to USA Today, Alabama increased his salary to $680,000 in 2013.
One coach who apparently is not in the running for the UW job is Gary Pinkel, who said during a radio interview on “Mike and Mike” that he is staying at Missouri.
Sark raiding staff
After running backs coach and special teams coordinator Johnny Nansen and defensive backs coach Keith Heyward left UW on Wednesday to join Sarkisian’s staff at USC, a source confirmed to The News Tribune on Thursday that linebackers coach Peter Sirmon will follow suit.
It is also thought that UW defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi will join Sarkisian’s staff, though it is uncertain when. USC is reportedly balking at the $1 million buyout Wilcox would owe UW for leaving early. Lupoi would owe slightly more than the $350,000 he is due in the final year of his three-year contract.
Marques Tuiasosopo remains on the UW staff as interim head coach (and quarterbacks coach). Receivers coach Eric Kiesau, offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto and tight ends coach Jordan Paopao also have not been linked to any USC reports or openings.