BOISE, Idaho — Boise State's Chris Petersen officially has joined college football's $2 million coaching club.
The State Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to give Petersen a $375,000 raise for 2012, the first step toward replacing his contract with a new five-year deal designed to keep him in Boise through January 2017.
The pay raise and new contract come after reports linking Petersen to the biggest coaching vacancies, including renewed rumors that Penn State intended to make another play for him.
"I feel honored and blessed that I will continue to lead this football team," said Petersen, 47. "I appreciate the support of the administration and Bronco Nation, and I'm excited about the continued growth of this program."
In six seasons, Petersen has led the Broncos to a 73-6 record, two BCS bowl victories and elevated the program's profile enough to earn an invitation to join the Big East in 2013. This year, the Broncos finished 12-1.
Petersen's current deal called for a 2012 salary of $1.625 million. Under terms of the proposed new deal, Petersen's salary would increase $200,000 in each of the next four years.
LSU, Alabama arrive
SEC rivals No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama both arrived in New Orleans to prepare for the first BCS title game to feature teams from the same league.
For Alabama, it was a short flight, and a brass band greeted the Tide as it got off the plane.
That was low key compared to the band plus 100-or-so fans who met LSU, in from Baton Rouge.
"The attachment to this city is one this team really feels," LSU coach Les Miles said. "You think (a greeting like this) is going to subside but this is going to continue for the week."
Gators to Senior Bowl
GAINESVILLE — Florida running back Chris Rainey and defensive tackle Jaye Howard were selected to participate in the Senior Bowl to be played Jan. 28 in Mobile, Ala. Rainey and Howard are the 15th and 16th players from UF to participate in the game.
TRANSFERS COMPLETE: Former Gators tight end Gerald Christian and receiver Robert Clark, both of whom left the team in October, are transferring to Louisville. Also, linebacker Dee Finley, who is a native of Auburn, Ala., decided to transfer to Tuskegee University in his home state.
Kansas hires Gator: Kansas, which recently hired former Gators offensive coordinator Charlie Weis as coach, hired Scott Holsopple as the director of strength and conditioning. Holsopple spent the last five years at Florida, where he was the top assistant to Mickey Marotti. Marotti left UF last month to join Urban Meyer at Ohio State.
Auburn: All-SEC running back Michael Dyer reportedly has asked for his release so he can transfer, CBSSports.com reported. One possible landing spot is Arkansas State, where former Tigers offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn was named head coach.
Tennessee: Receiver DeAnthony Arnett is reportedly set to transfer to Michigan State. Arnett, who is from Saginaw, Mich., said recently that his father has had multiple heart attacks and is on dialysis.
Penn State: The school's board of trustees and president focused on repairing the school's tarnished image and braced for financial backlash in the aftermath of the child sex-abuse scandal that erupted two months ago, going so far as to recommend reminding any outraged donors that they wouldn't get their money back, according to internal memos obtained by the Associated Press. Four memos sent Nov. 14-18 and released this week describe a scrambling response after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested on child molestation charges.
Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.