Huard: Why UW Huskies had to part ways with coach Jimmy Lake
There are many things to point to as possible reasons for the end of Jimmy Lake’s short tenure as UW Huskies head football coach. But in the end, it may have been the weight of it all together that resulted in the school firing him after just 14 games at the helm of the Washington program.
FOX Sports college football analyst Brock Huard, a former star UW Huskies quarterback, joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Mike Salk on Monday morning for his daily segment, and as you might expect, Sunday’s dismissal of Lake was the hot topic for the pair behind the Brock and Salk Podcast.
While Lake was suspended without pay for Saturday’s loss to Arizona State due to a sideline incident with a player a week prior, and a report recently surfaced that he had shoved another player in 2019 when he was UW defensive coordinator, those two things were likely just part of the whole picture that led to the university’s decision on Sunday.
“I think it was just a compounding of all the factors,” Huard said. “I don’t think it was the push (on Nov. 6), I don’t think it was the incident in 2019, I don’t think it’s solely recruiting. I think you throw it all into the cauldron and it just doesn’t work. And more importantly, there’s no confidence of the big-time boosters, the Board of Trustees or of the athletic director to say ‘With more time this will be rectified.’ And you lose that trust, you lose that momentum, you lose your job, and that’s just college football.”
Lake’s head coaching tenure ends with a 7-7 record (including Saturday’s game he was suspended for) and no Apple Cup appearance, as the 2020 rivalry game was cancelled due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Washington State program. And though the Huskies finished 3-1 last year and won the Pac-12 North, they didn’t get the chance to play in the Pac-12 Championship due to their own COVID-19 outbreak.
The Huskies had high expectations for 2021, entering the season ranked No. 20 in the Associated Press poll, but it was all downhill after an embarrassing loss in their opener to Montana, an FCS school. Offense and the battle at the line of scrimmage has been a continuous problem for UW, which is 3-5 this season and fired offensive coordinator John Donovan last week.
“It wasn’t as if that is atrocious,” Huard said of Lake’s record as head coach, “but it is just the belief and the trust that either you engender around you that, ‘Yep, I’m the guy and this is the program and we all feel good about this and this is a little bit of a rough patch, but we are plowing ahead.’ Or it is, ‘Sheesh, I don’t trust him to make the next decision at offensive coordinator. I don’t trust him on the recruiting path where right now the message is not is not working.’ And you know, (UW athletic director) Jen Cohen I think said as much yesterday in her presser – it wasn’t any one factor. It was all of them thrown into the pot and this decision had to be made.”
The full discussion between Huard and Salk can be heard in the Hour 2 podcast of Monday’s Mike Salk Show at this link or in the player below. For more on the Huskies’ coaching situation, read this story on Huard’s insight on potential candidates to replace Lake to lead the UW football program.