Petersen was introduced as the Huskies' new coach Monday at a news conference overlooking his new football home in Husky Stadium. Petersen said he's constantly been asked why he finally left Boise State after eight years as the Broncos head coach.
The 49-year-old said it was a combination of timing and fit.
"It was time for that next step and next challenge," Petersen said.
Petersen was 92-12 at Boise State, including five conference titles and two Fiesta Bowl victories. He replaces Steve Sarkisian, who was 34-29 in five seasons at Washington before taking the job at USC.
Wearing a purple tie, Petersen spoke for more than 20 minutes about his decision. He referenced former Washington coach Don James and spoke with excitement about being able to take advantage of the additions and changes at renovated Husky Stadium.
Certainly the salary didn't hurt. Petersen will make $18 million in guaranteed compensation as part of his five-year agreement. Petersen will make $3.2 million in 2014 with a $200,000 increase each season, topping out at $4 million in 2018.
Washington athletic director Scott Woodward said Petersen was the only person who was offered the job.
"I think we paid coach Petersen market and we're going to be competitive in the market," Woodward said. "He wants to be paid what he is worth and I want to pay him what he's worth."