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Monday, October 27th, 2008

Posted by Darrin Beene @ 12:20:45 pm

Washington coach Tyrone Willingham says he will step down at the end of the 2008 season at his weekly press conference today.

Here is his opening statement:

"I’ll make a statement regarding my future at the University of Washington. Scott Woodward and I have met and we have come to a decision that at the end of the 2008 football season, they will move in another direction with the head football coach at this university. It is my desire to complete and finish the football season and do that in the manner that I have done it: Unwavering in my approach and commitment to our young men and to the goals we have set for them: that they should be championship player, championship students, championship persons and they should have fun in the matter that is reflective in the values of this program and the university community. I’m hoping that this announcement will allow the Husky family to come together and eliminate all the speculation and all the negativity that has surrounded the program and (allow) all these young men can do the things necessary to be successful both on and off the football field.

The Huskies are 0-7 after Saturday's 33-7 loss to Notre Dame. Willingham's record is 11-32 in his four seasons at UW.

Athletic director Scott Woodward said the announcement ends speculation of what is going to happen with Willingham, who had a year remaining on his contract.

"It became quite obviously that the performance on the football field wasn’t up to what we talked about at the beginning of the season and previous to the season and it became more obvious as time went on," Woodward said in explaining his decision to make the move -- and the announcement -- now.

Washington currently has a nine-game losing streak dating back to last season, tied with North Texas for the longest in the country.

A few other highlights from the press conference:

*Woodward apparently raised the issue with Willingham on Sunday. Willingham didn't want to characterize the talks today, however, Woodward said that Willingham is always professional.

*Woodward said the search for a new coach will begin immediately and he wouldn't rule out that a coach could be named before this season ends.

*Woodward had said that he didn't plan to make a move until after the season. However, he said today that his primary concern was leaving the players "orphaned" without their head coach. That issue doesn't apply now, since Willingham will stay on. For his part, Willingham said he is glad that he will be allowed to say. He also said that he doesn't think his leadership will be any more compromised as an official lame duck than it had been as a speculative lame duck.

* Willingham said he wouldn't rule out anything with regard to his future, including returning as a college football head coach. He said he expects his staff to be professional in continuing to coach the team while looking after their own employment situations.

*Things happened quickly enough where Willingham did not have enough time to tell his team that this announcement was about to be made. He saw quarterback Ronnie Fouch just before the public announcement, and informed him. Fouch said he and most of the team had supported Willingham and that he believes the team will continue to play hard for him.

* Both Willingham and Woodward said they hope that by making the announcement now, it will ease the constant speculation that had hung over the team as each loss has piled up. Both also said they hope this will help offer some clarity to recruits. Willingham said the announcement might open minds that had closed.

*University president Mark Emmert was not part of today's announcement. However, he said he will be available to answer questions from individual members of the media.

Categories: Huskies 26 comments


Permalink Comment by entropico @ 12:35 - Monday, October 27th, 2008 Email
Willingham is a class act. It is a shame that he was not able to be successful here. I would hope that the UW Athletic Department learns from it's mistakes as well, and takes responsibility for it's part in this mess. At this point this move is what is best for both parties.
Permalink Comment by John L. from the woods at Titlow Park @ 13:09 - Monday, October 27th, 2008
I hope they take the time needed to get (as much as is possible) the RIGHT coach. I'm seeing forum and blog posts around the area mentioning Ty should leave now and get a replacement asap. And this is so they can rebuild again in 4 years? I think they're doing the right thing by accepting resume's right from the get go, but I hope they don't just "settle" for a less than good fit. And it doesn't have to be a big name coach either. How many people knew the name Don James before he arrived? I say go hunting in the mid-west. Ask the Ohio St. coach who he'd recommend.
Permalink Comment by andersonj_p @ 13:09 - Monday, October 27th, 2008 Email
I wish Willingham the best - always a professional and really, Knute Rockne wouldn't have been able to turn this program around.
Permalink Comment by Husky4ever @ 13:16 - Monday, October 27th, 2008 Email
Ty is a class act and has done dome good things for this program - unfortunately the wins did not come.
Hopefully the kids who came to play for him will rally around him and get a win or 2

Go Dawgs
Permalink Comment by paazin @ 13:27 - Monday, October 27th, 2008 Email
As long as USC is the king under Pete Carrol, not too mention a glamorous program, and throw in a UCLA that will revive under Neuheisel and the Arizona schools not far behind(plus just as easy for LA blue chippers to travel), it is going to be a tough row to hoe to get the UW program into a winning program, not impossible but tough. I would start with the Boise St coach
Chris Petersen, see if he wants to be the UW's version of Jim Tressel.
Permalink Comment by wabubba68 @ 13:39 - Monday, October 27th, 2008 Email
Lane Kiffin
Mike Nolan
Dennis Erickson
Gary Pinkel

All are worth a phone call.
Permalink Comment by Houston_Dawg @ 14:50 - Monday, October 27th, 2008 Email
I was hoping he could turn it around also. But wins are the as important as good students and only half of the formula was successful in this case.

I think this is the best approach for both the current team and to help salvage this years recruiting class, if we don't drag this out too long. My concern is that we start with a wish list of say 5 candidates and each one blows us off. I hope we can find a good coach and we can get this ball rolling for next year.

Permalink Comment by ProblemSolved @ 14:56 - Monday, October 27th, 2008 Email
No Dennis Erickson! You've got to be kidding. That guy is bad news; just ask every team he's ditched in his career.

Hill in Fresno would be great; he could really make this team a power house. Pinkel is as good as his current QB, until he showed up; they wanted to run him out of town. Nolan and Kiffin come with too much distraction.

There is a void in the Pac 10 and it's because UW isn't holding down the fort in the north. Once we get the pieces together, UW will be back on the map and give the kids in LA and southern California a better opportunity up north. Believe it or not, a lot of kids want to get as far away from LA as they can, which is has always been to UW's advantage. It's in a major city and its close, but not too close, to home. Oregon is in Eugene (c'mon), WSU is Pullman (Zzzzz), and OSU in Corvallis (Zzzzzz).

Go Dawgs!
Permalink Comment by tommy98466 @ 15:01 - Monday, October 27th, 2008 Email
He ought to leave now. He is a disgrace to the State and the U with its long tradition of winning years. It will be a long time before you see a winning team at UW.
Permalink Comment by jasoninalaska @ 15:19 - Monday, October 27th, 2008 Email
I really believe that it is in the best interest of the program for him to step down now. This way the rest of the year is just focused on seeing what we have not through Tyrone's eyes. Let the kids go out and play without having some lame duck coach looking over their shoulders. I do wish him luck, but it's time for a change now.
Permalink Comment by Husky4ever @ 15:56 - Monday, October 27th, 2008 Email
Erickson? You have got to be kidding. That would be the dumbest hire in the world
Pinkel - 59 year old coaches who have built a winning program are not likely to go across the country to try and rebuild one.

Permalink Comment by jayjaydean @ 16:24 - Monday, October 27th, 2008 Email
Let me be the one to say "Aaaaaaaaaaaack" when reading Mike Nolan's name anywhere near the conversation. Nice suits. Bad coach.

Come to Seattle, Chris Peterson. Jake Locker awaits...
Permalink Comment by pokey1 @ 16:25 - Monday, October 27th, 2008 Email
my vote...pat hill.
Permalink Comment by davidbritton @ 16:31 - Monday, October 27th, 2008 Email
Hill would be a good move, mainly because he coaches the style of play we used to see around here. Peterson, maybe, but I hear he has personal reasons for wanting to stay in Boise. Personally I think we need to bring in somebody with Husky ties, and in particular Don James ties, to restore the old Husky traditions before they are completely forgotten. Tradition is what makes college football different (and better) than the NFL, and we've pretty much torched ours. To me, the "miscommunication" about the visit to the players by the 78 Rose Bowl team - not the ND loss- was the last straw.

That being said, Pinkel and Mora are unrealistic names at this point. Even if we all took up a collection and offered another 1/2 mil, no way does Pinkel leave the program he's built at Mizzou for this. (Drinks on me if I'm wrong!) Don't know who else we could get by way of "a Washington man."

I kind of like the idea of Kiffin, because a hire within the next month might save our lost recruiting cycle, but I would still put a priority on bringing in someone who understands the program and the fans. I for one am tired of paying what we all pay for season tickets, only to be ignored if not insulted.
Permalink Comment by Husky4ever @ 17:27 - Monday, October 27th, 2008 Email
The best name with Husky ties would be Dave Christensen - played for UW, grew up in Everett. Close as it gets.

I am not convinced we need to get a Washington guy
Permalink Comment by jack54 @ 20:09 - Monday, October 27th, 2008
Good Riddance!!! It's about time!
Permalink Comment by TheWhap @ 20:59 - Monday, October 27th, 2008 Email
I have to tell you.. I live here, and I did not even go to Husky to watch my Beavs take your Dawgs.
The reason? I can't stand your coach.
Out of touch, out of his mind?
Not a salesperson at all.
Lambo was a lot more fun.
James would at least talk, and showed he could
also sell in the Pouslbo RV commercials.
Imagine what your Emil Foley would sound
like in a TV commbercial, selling RVs
Permalink Comment by pika @ 21:05 - Monday, October 27th, 2008
I wonder if Jim Mora will ditch the Hawks for the Dawgs...
Permalink Comment by williemax @ 22:03 - Monday, October 27th, 2008 Email
I was sad to read McGrath's column a couple of days ago when he called Coach Willingham "Coach WillingLamb". He probably didn't win nearly enough games to warrant continuing as Head Coach,,however, he did restore the integrity of a program that his predecessor had destroyed.
It was a cheap shot from a typical sports writer who probably flunked P.E.
I coached High School and JC football in SoCal for 36 years, and some of my biggest pains were inept sportswriters who thought a cute line was more important than respecting an sincere effort by players and coaches. Believe me, if the table were turned, there aren't many sports writers who would survive the pressure.

Permalink Comment by Rowdy_Rob @ 22:10 - Monday, October 27th, 2008 Email
Na na na na, na na na na, hey Tyrone, Goodbye!
Permalink Comment by Husky4ever @ 07:20 - Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 Email
Willingham did indeed restore integrity back into the program and for that he should be commended. He is a class act all the way - too bad he did not get the wins.
Permalink Comment by timpc3 @ 09:53 - Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 Email
Willingham is a decent, honorable man. I would be proud to have him as a friend or neighbor. I bet he would make an excellent teacher.

That said, he is an absolutely terrible college football coach. I am blessed to know many wonderful people who comport themselves with class and integrity every day - and not one of them is qualified to coach the Huskies.

Being a class act is just one part of the job. Recruiting also counts, as do offense, defense, special teams, motivation, public and community relations, game and clock management - and a host of other requirements Willingham simply isn't cut out to fulfill.

Ty has turned the Huskies into a bye for opponents.

I wish Ty well. I would gladly welcome him to my neighborhood - but I'm ecstatic that he's finally leaving UW football.
Permalink Comment by jayjaydean @ 11:12 - Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 Email
That said, he is an absolutely terrible college football coach.

I agree with everything you said except this line. Obviously the man CAN coach - he won the Rose Bowl at Stanford of all places. However, I think the Stanford situation was perfect for him, because I don't think it is over-generalizing to call the average Stanford football player more mature and more grown-up than the ones you would find at nearly every other I-A program. I think Ty has little time for your typical 18-year old an his attitude - which is why recruiting is his weak point.

When they were discussing TW on the radio last week with a guy from South Bend, it was raised that he would make the perfect coach at an Ivy League school. I think that is a pretty reasonable comment.
Permalink Comment by Houston_Dawg @ 13:25 - Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 Email
JJ: I agree 100%. The type of players going to Stanford and the Ivy league are much different then what you see going to Oregon or where ever shooting for a PE degree.

They are STUDENT athletes to fullest extent of the phrase. Kids like that seek out those institutions and are honored to learn and play there.

Like I've said also, I would be honored to have my son play for him, knowing that he would come out of college that much better of a human being.
Permalink Comment by Husky4ever @ 17:13 - Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 Email
Thank you JayJay and Houston
Those were the perfect summations if Ty Willingham.
I hope he finds the school that is perfect for him. And I wish him well in anything he does - I know he would do to same for others. Someone else put it best in one of these blogs. "Everything Ty does he does with class" or something along that line.
Permalink Comment by timpc3 @ 10:44 - Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 Email
I disagree that Ty can coach. His teams consistently shoot themselves in the foot and fail in the most fundamental aspects of the game. Failure to get a play called on the first down after a bye week tells me all I need to know, let alone the ongoing inability to "play chess" on game day. In four years, Ty never once made a halftime adjustment that altered the course of a game for the better.

A Ty-coached Ivy League team will be the worst prepared in the league.

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