What to know about new UW Huskies head coach Jedd Fisch

Jan 14, 2024, 4:47 PM | Updated: 4:58 pm

UW Huskies Jedd Fisch...

Head coach Jedd Fisch of the Arizona Wildcats speaks with Tetairoa McMillan on Nov. 12, 2022. (Harry How/Getty Images)

(Harry How/Getty Images)

The UW Huskies have gone from playing for the national championship to hiring a new head coach, Jedd Fisch, in roughly one week.

UW Huskies make Arizona’s Jedd Fisch their new coach

Kalen DeBoer left Washington on Friday after two seasons to take over at Alabama for the retiring Nick Saban, but the Huskies have quickly found their new head coach in the form of a former Pac-12 opponent. Fisch, 47, will be the next man to lead the Huskies after spending three years with the Arizona Wildcats.

Washington paid big to get Fisch, as per The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, he will make an average of $7.75 million per year to coach the Huskies. That figure would have ranked 15th in the nation in 2023. The contract is reportedly seven years in length.

Let’s take a closer look at the next head coach of the UW Huskies.

Another offensive-minded coach for Washington

Fisch has been on staff at either a Power Five school or NFL team since 1999, when he was a grad assistant at his alma mater, Florida.

Fisch’s background is on offense, despite his first NFL job being a defensive assistant with the Houston Texans in 2002 and 2003.

From 2009-20, Fisch was either an offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach in all but two seasons. During those two years, he was an offensive assistant for the Los Angeles Rams, the first of which LA reached the Super Bowl. The Rams were one of the NFL’s top offenses each of those two seasons.

Arizona, which hired Fisch in 2021, was his first head coaching job. Fisch went 16-21 with the Wildcats, including a 10-3 season in 2023 that included a seven-game winning streak to end the year. The Wildcats ended the year No. 11 in the final AP poll, the school’s best finish since 1998.

The Huskies were known for an explosive and efficient offense under DeBoer and departing offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, but they may not take as big of a step back on that side of the ball as you may think.

Arizona finished 2023 as the nation’s No. 18 scoring offense and No. 20 total offense. The Wildcats were not far behind the Huskies in those two categories. And when Fisch’s Wildcats faced the Huskies in Arizona this year, it was a close one, with Washington winning 31-24.

Arizona also had a much better statistical defense in 2023 than the Huskies did, ranking 30th in scoring defense compared to Washington’s 56th.

Fisch’s notable Seattle connections

Fisch has been a regular foe of Pacific Northwest teams throughout his coaching career, both at Arizona and other stops such as the Rams and UCLA. But Fisch also spent a year in Seattle himself.

Fisch was part of Pete Carroll’s first coaching staff with Seahawks, serving as quarterbacks coach in 2010 when Seattle went 7-9 and upset the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs. That was his lone year with the Seahawks, though, as he moved on to be offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Miami (Fla.) in 2011 and 2012.

Fisch’s Seattle connection led to him hiring Carroll’s son, Brennan, as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Arizona. The younger Carroll has been Fisch’s right-hand man all three of his years at Arizona.

With Pete Carroll no longer head coach of the Seahawks, that could maybe lead to Brennan’s brother Nate getting hired with the Huskies, as well. Nate has been on Seattle’s staff since 2010 in various capacities, including receivers coach and most recently senior offensive assistant.

In addition to his time under Carroll, Fisch worked under another legendary coach who recently was removed from his position. That would be Bill Belichick, the legendary New England Patriots head coach. Fisch was Belichick’s quarterbacks coach in 2020.

UW Huskies’ Jedd Fisch has Big Ten ties

For the first time in over 100 years, Washington is no longer in the Pac-12.

With the 2023 season all wrapped up, the Huskies will begin their first season as a member of the Big Ten conference this coming fall, and they will do so with a head coach who has spent time in the conference.

Fisch has multiple years of experience in the Big Ten as a key assistant coach. He was Minnesota’s offensive coordinator in 2009 before joining the Seahawks, then spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons at Michigan as quarterbacks coach, receivers coach and passing game coordinator under Jim Harbaugh, who many believe will be leaving the defending-champion Wolverines for the NFL in the very near future.

Fisch, like many Pac-12 head coaches, has recruited largely on the West Coast and in-state in Arizona. But with the Huskies now in the Big Ten, Washington has a head coach with familiarity recruiting and coaching the in the conference, and has shown he can get big-name recruits out on the West Coast.

Recruiting and transfers to watch

Fisch took over at Arizona ahead of the 2021 season and has had some success recruiting at a school mostly known for its basketball prowess.

Arizona’s 2021 class ranked just 11th in the Pac-12 and 76th overall, per 247Sports. But Fisch’s first full recruiting cycle for the Wildcats was a massive one, ranking third in the conference and 22nd overall by 247 as arguably the best recruiting class in school history. Fisch and his staff followed up 2022’s impressive recruiting class with solid showings, ranking 40th overall in 2023 and 49th in 2024, per 247Sports.

That 2022 class brought to campus key players like quarterback Noah Fifita, wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan and running back Jonah Coleman, along with many other key contributors.

Fifita was the Pac-12’s freshman of the year in 2023 after throwing for 2,869 yards with 25 touchdown passes to six interceptions while completing 72.4% of his passes.

Coleman led the Wildcats in rushing yards with 871 in 2023 and he also had 283 receiving yards.

McMillan was one of the best receivers in the country last year, catching 90 passes for 1,402 yards and 10 touchdowns, two of which came against the Huskies.

Those three will be the key players to watch in the transfer portal in the coming days, and Fisch will almost certainly be trying to get all three to follow him to Washington. The Huskies could sure use that trio, too.

The Huskies have no scholarship quarterbacks on campus right now as Michael Penix Jr. is out of eligibility and Will Rogers, Will Haskell and Austin Mack announced after DeBoer left that they will be entering the transfer portal.

Running back Dillon Johnson is entering the NFL Draft after rushing for over 1,000 yards in 2023, and Washington is also set to lose its top three receivers – Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan and Ja’Lynn Polk – to the draft. They could also potentially lose guys like Giles Jackson, Germie Bernard and Denzel Boston to the transfer portal.

That won’t be all the Huskies lose this offseason, though, with tackles Troy Fautanu and Roger Rosengarten going pro, tight ends Devin Culp and Jack Westover graduating, and nearly every starter on defense either out of eligibility, transferring or going pro early.

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