Feb. 10, 2003
Seattle - Washington football coach Rick Neuheisel announced today that John Pettas (52) has been named an assistant coach for quarterbacks on the Husky staff. It marks the 26-year veteran of the collegiate coaching ranks' second tenure at Washington. During the 2001 season he worked as a graduate assistant coach for Neuheisel, handling the wide receivers.
Last year Pettas was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for John L. Smith at Louisville. The Cardinals went 7-6 and lost to Marshall in the GMAC Bowl. Louisville quarterback Dave Ragone was named Conference USA's Offensive Player of the Year. As a senior Ragone passed for 2,880 yards and a conference-best 24 touchdowns.
"We're very fortunate to hire someone with John's background for this position," Neuheisel said. "He has a very good knowledge of our offense and our players, so this will make for a very smooth transition."
Pettas is no stranger to the Pac-10 coaching circles. Prior to Washington, Pettas spent five seasons at Arizona State where he saw time as both running backs and quarterbacks coach before serving as the Sun Devils' offensive coordinator for the 2000 season.
Under Pettas in 2000, the Sun Devils led the Pac-10 in passing yards per game and finished fifth in the league in scoring. Three members of the ASU offense earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors, including All-American tight end Todd Heap. In 1996, Pettas coached first-team All-Pac-10 Conference quarterback Jake "The Snake" Plummer, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting, to All-America accolades.
Pettas, who was the quarterbacks and kickers coach at Pacific in 1994, helped lead the Tigers to a 6-5 mark, their best record in 17 years. Pettas followed former ASU assistant Lyle Setencich to Pacific from Cal Poly SLO, where Setencich was the head coach. He served as the offensive coordinator at Cal Poly and also served as coach of the quarterbacks, wide receivers and kickers.
In 1992-93, Pettas served as a coaches' assistant on defense for the San Francisco 49ers.
Pettas also served as the offensive coordinator and coached quarterbacks, running backs and kickers at Kent State (1990-92). Prior to that, he served as the running backs, kickers and special teams coach at the New Mexico (1988-90) and as the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Nevada (1978-88) where he spent time forming a relationship with Louisville head coach John L. Smith.
At Nevada he also coached running backs, kickers and special teams for Wolfpack teams which played in the 1978, '79, '83, '85 and '86 I-AA playoffs. The 1978 and '86 teams led the nation in scoring and the '86 squad led the country in total offense.
From 1975 through 1978, Pettas was a graduate assistant and head freshmen coach at Colorado. Before that, he served as the offensive coordinator and head freshman baseball coach at Gonzales Union High School in Salinas, Calif. (1974-75). He also was a graduate assistant for quarterbacks at Cal Poly SLO in 1973.
A 1974 graduate of Cal Poly SLO, Pettas quarterbacked the 1971 and 1972 Mustang teams. He helped guide them to an 8-1-1 record and an appearance in the Camelia Bowl in '72. As captain of that squad, Pettas earned All-West Coast Conference honorable mention honors.
The 1969 graduate of Monterey (Calif.) High School earned a master's degree in physical education from Colorado. He and his wife Lynn have two children, Amanda (12) and Mallory (10).