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Former UW coach Jim Lambright
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Jim Lambright, former UW Huskies coach and player, dies at 77

Jim Lambright coached UW to a Pac-10 title in 1995. (Getty - Todd Warshaw/Allsport)

Former UW Huskies head coach, defensive coordinator and player Jim Lambright has died at the age of 77.

Lambright coached the defense during Washington’s heyday under head coach Don James in the 1980s and early 90s, then went on to a successful six-year stint as Huskies head coach himself.

“I’m deeply saddened by the news of Coach Lambright’s passing,” University of Washington athletic director Jen Cohen said in a statement. “Coach Lambright is synonymous with Husky football and he gave so much to this program both as a player and coach. My love for the University of Washington was sparked during Coach’s tenure on our football staff and I’m grateful for the impact he had on so many. I’d like to extend heartfelt condolences to his family, former players, teammates and coaches.”

A Washington native who was born in Everett and grew up in Snohomish County, Lambright began his time on Montlake as a defensive end for the Huskies in the early 1960s, earning All-Coast honors and Washington’s Guy Flaherty Most Inspirational Award in 1964. Lambright found his way back to the UW football program in 1969, joining the coaching staff under his former coach Jim Owen after stints coaching at Fife High School and Shoreline Community College.

Lambright spent 23 years as an assistant for Owen and James, becoming the defensive coordinator under James in 1978, a position he held through 1992. With Lambright as DC, the Huskies enjoyed a sustained period of success, winning six conference championships, three Rose Bowls and claiming back-to-back national championships in 1990 and 1991.

Lambright succeeded James as Washington’s head coach in 1993, leading the Husky program through 1998. He had a career record of 44-25-1, winning the Pac-10 title in 1995 and the 1997 Aloha Bowl over Nick Saban’s Michigan State team.

“Coach Lambright was a legend at the UW, particularly when it came to playing the kind of physical, aggressive defense that his teams were known for,” current UW football coach Jimmy Lake said. “He was always supportive of the program that he loved so much. His impact on Husky football will not be forgotten.”

No cause of death was given. Lambright was known to be suffering from dementia.

He is survived by his daughter Kris, his son Eric, and grandchildren Caroline and Matt.

Lambright’s family suggests donations to the University of Washington Medical Center or any local charity or cause supporting efforts to suppress the COVID-19 crisis, according to a press release from the University.

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