SAD GOODBYES AND HAPPY HELLO’S
The press conference announcing the stepping down of current head coach Chris Petersen and stepping up if you will of current defensive coordinator and now head coach Jimmy Lake had a goodbye and welcome party at tone all at the same time. Some sadness, some joy and as the Who once said, meet the new boss same as the old boss.
It is always difficult to decipher what the true meaning or process that goes into surprise decision and eventual announcements like Petersen’s. What we do know is that after six successful season’s as the head coach of the Washington Huskies Petersen lost his passion to coach football.
In his six seasons at Washington, Petersen led the Huskies to two Pac-12 Championships (2016 and 2018), the 2016 College Football Playoffs, and three consecutive New Years Six bowl games. The Huskies won 39 games from 2015 through 2018 – most ever by the UW in a four-year stretch. If the Huskies win their bowl game this year, it will be the program’s 40th victory over the four seasons from 2016 to 2019, setting a new record.
While Petersen could have stayed and regained his passion for coaching there was no better time than the present to hand over the reins of a successful program to someone who was ready for the opportunity to take the Husky program to the next level.
JIMMY LAKE ERA BEGINS
Lake, who also served as a UW assistant coach under Keith Gilbertson in 2004, returned to Seattle as defensive backs coach on Petersen’s first Husky staff in 2014. He was promoted to co-defensive coordinator before the 2016 season and to defensive coordinator in 2018.
From 2015 through 2018, Washington’s defense led the Pac-12 in both total defense and scoring defense all four years – and by a significant margin in most cases. Lake’s secondary was key in that success, as evidenced by the long list of defensive backs who have gone on to success in professional football. Eight former Husky defensive backs coached by Lake on currently on NFL rosters.
Lake will become the second African American head coach of the Washington program after Tyrone Willingham who was the coach from 2005- 2008.