Former NCAA head football coach Chris Petersen named Fritzky Chair in Leadership at UW’s Foster School of Business

Chris Petersen

Chris Petersen, former head football coach at the University of Washington and Boise State University, has been appointed as the Edward V. Fritzky Endowed Chair in Leadership at the University of Washington Foster School of Business for the 2020-2021 school year, officials announced today. Established in 2002, this prestigious faculty position is designed to bring distinguished leaders to campus to share their expertise with faculty and students. 

The first two-time winner of the Paul Bear Bryant Award, and the 2010 Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year, Coach Petersen was the fastest active FBS coach to reach 100 career victories – doing so in 117 games.  During his tenure at Boise State, he coached the team to two undefeated seasons.  Additionally, Petersen lead the Huskies to the College Football Playoffs and to the New Year’s bowl games in the 2016 (Peach) 2017 (Fiesta) 2018 (Rose) seasons. Petersen surprised many when he retired from coaching in 2019. For those that know him, his new business school role is no surprise at all. 

“As the former UW Faculty Athletics Representative, I worked extensively with UW coaches. Chris was unique amongst them,” says Frank Hodge, dean of the Foster School. “Normally when I met with coaches the conversation focused on their sport. My conversations with Chris were rarely about his sport. Instead, they focused on leadership principles.” 

In addition to success on the field, Petersen lead his teams to off the field excellence as well. He worked to instill his “Built for Life” philosophy in his players through a focus on character development, academic success and life skills. Under his leadership his teams set numerous academic records and regularly achieved team grade point averages of over 3.0.  UW Football rose to the top of the PAC-12 in APR (Academic Progress Report) and continues to lead in academic performance. (The NCAA uses APR to measure team’s academic success, graduation and retention).  During the 2015-2018 seasons, the UW football program achieved the highest four-year APR score in the history of major college football. 

“I am excited and honored to be appointed as the Fritzky Chair in Leadership.  I am thrilled to be partnering with the Foster School of Business, one of the top business schools in the country,” Petersen said. I have always been passionate about leadership, team building and human performance and am looking forward to facilitating a collaboration between business and sport leaders. This will be an amazing opportunity to invest in others as I continue to mentor, study and grow.”  

The Edward V. Fritzky Endowed Chair in Leadership was established in 2002 by Amgen Inc. as a gift honoring the career of Edward Fritzky, retired chairman, president and CEO of Immunex. Previous Fritzky Chairs include: Charles M. Pigott, former Chairman of PACCAR Inc; Ken Denman, partner at Sway Ventures and board member at Costco Wholesale and Motorola Solutions; Howard Behar, former President of Starbucks North America; Dorrit Bern, former CEO of Charming Shoppes; and Paula and Steve Reynolds, former CEOs of Safeco and Puget Energy, respectively.