The University of Washington Huskies Football Team will be without a head coach for the rest of the season, as the school parted ways with coach Jimmy Lake after just two seasons.
Lake was not finding success on the field, as his teams went 7-6. Lake inherited one of the best programs in the Pac-12 from Chris Petersen, but after going 3-1 in last year’s condensed season, the Huskies have taken a significant step back in 2021.
They opened the year with a 13-7 loss to FCS Montana, have fielded one of the worst offenses in the Pac-12, and need to win their final two games to reach bowl eligibility. Washington hasn’t failed to qualify for a bowl since 2009.
More of the issues that troubled Lake seemed to come away from the field, however. Lake was given a one-game suspension for striking a player on the sideline of the game against Oregon this season, and there are other reports and rumors of Lake being physical with players dating back to his first season.
Making a head-coaching change in any sport is difficult, recognizing that the decision impacts coaches, staff, student-athletes and their families,” Washington athletic director Jen Cohen said in a statement. “However, as the steward of UW Athletics, I must always act in the best interests of our student-athletes, our department and our university. 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.”
“There wasn’t one factor that led me to this decision. Wins and losses, no fan support — [those are some] of many factors that you’re considering when you’re making a decision this impactful,” Cohen said. “What I would just say is this was a very thoughtful decision that took me a lot of time and I had a lot of counsel in evaluating it. There’s just not one incident or one factor that led me to this today.”
Lake is the third Pac-12 coach to be dismissed this season, joining USC‘s Clay Helton and Washington State‘s Nick Rolovich. It’s the sixth Power Five job to open, with TCU, Texas Tech, and LSU being the rest.
This is a good move by Washington. When you have players that are anonymously going to media sources to talk about the coach, among other factors like no fan support, it is not a good look, and something needs to change. There were clearly locker room issues and Lake could not win to keep those issues at bay.
It is very frustrating for everyone involved. It looked like the start of something new and exciting, and fans could not have been happier.
Chris Petersen stood at a podium in the Don James Center in Husky Stadium on Dec. 3, 2019. The day before, UW announced that Petersen would step down after six seasons as the Huskies’ head coach, and Lake — his defensive coordinator — would serve as his chosen successor. Lake and athletic director Jen Cohen both sat nearby.
On the video board beyond the field at Petersen’s back, three words were displayed in bold:
“A NEW REIGN”
Well, this reign is over. Washington will rely on a group of advisers in addition to an external search firm to find Washington’s next coach.
Anthony Ravasio is a writer for TWSN and a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. In his downtime, you can find Anthony watching sports, enjoying his time with friends or family, or tracking his bets on Action (or all three at once). You can find TWSN on Twitter @TWSN___ and Instagram @twsn___. You can find Anthony on Twitter @anthonyravasio or Instagram @ravasiosports as well.