UW Huskies fire football coach Jimmy Lake after less than 2 seasons
Six days after UW Huskies head football coach Jimmy Lake was suspended without pay by the school for one game, the university announced Sunday afternoon it has fired him less than two seasons into his tenure.
Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory, who was acting head coach in Washington’s 35-30 loss at home to Arizona State on Saturday, will serve as the Huskies’ interim head coach through the remainder of the season. The school will “immediately” begin a “national search” for a head coach for 2022, according to its statement.
Though signs had pointed all week to Lake’s time with the Huskies coming to an end, the news of his firing first broke from Yahoo Sports college football reporter Pete Thamel after 1 p.m. Sunday. The university then released a statement confirming Lake’s dismissal at roughly 2 p.m.
Lake was involved in a sideline altercation with a Huskies player in Washington’s 26-16 loss to Oregon on Nov. 6, which resulted in his one-game suspension. It appeared Lake’s right hand hit the facemask of Ruperake Fuavai just after Fuavai had a brief exchange with Oregon players. Lake then followed Fuavai and appeared to push his back.
Though Lake denied striking Fuavai, he released a statement in which he apologized for the incident.
Washington athletic director Jen Cohen said the school will honor Lake’s contract, on which Lake is still owed $9 million dollars.
“No one wanted Jimmy to succeed more than I when I hired him in 2019, but ultimately, this change is necessary for a variety of reasons, both on the field and off,” Cohen said in the school’s statement. “I am grateful for Jimmy’s service to Washington, and we wish him the very best of luck moving forward.”
The Huskies are 4-6 this season after going 3-1 in Lake’s first season at the helm in 2020. Lake, previously Washington’s defensive coordinator, replaced Chris Petersen as head coach following the 2019 season when Petersen announced his retirement.
The Huskies had high expectations for 2021, entering the season ranked No. 20 in the Associated Press poll, but suffered an embarrassing loss to Montana, an FCS school, in their opener. The Huskies have disappointed since with pronounced struggles on offense and trouble winning the battle at the line of scrimmage throughout this season.
Prior to Lake’s suspension, he fired offensive coordinator John Donovan on Nov. 7.
Washington has two games remaining this season: next Saturday at Colorado, and the Apple Cup at home against WSU on Friday, Nov. 26.
Both Lake and Nick Rolovich, who was hired as Washington State head coach after the 2019 season, were fired before they had the chance to serve as head coach in a single Apple Cup after the 2020 game was cancelled due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Cougars program. The Huskies then were replaced by Oregon in the 2020 Pac-12 Championship due to their own COVID-19 outbreak.
For more on the story, read this post from The Associated Press.