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UW fires head football coach Jimmy Lake

The Spokane native coached 13 games. The university will honor the terms of his contract.
Credit: AP Photo/Stephen Brashear
Washington head coach Jimmy Lake, right, reacts while talking with field judge Jeffrey Yock, left, and referee Michael Mothershed, center, during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Oregon, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in Seattle.

SEATTLE — Jimmy Lake is out as University of Washington's head football coach, Director of Athletics Jen Cohen announced Sunday.

The university will honor the terms of his contract, according to the university. 

"Making a head coaching change in any sport is difficult, recognizing that the decision impacts coaches, staff, student-athletes and their families," Cohen said. "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. I am grateful for Jimmy's service to Washington, and we wish him the very best of luck moving forward."

The University of Washington previously suspended Lake without pay following a sideline incident during the Huskies’ game against Oregon Nov. 6.

The Huskies lost 26-16 in what was seen as an underwhelming offensive performance against the no. 5 Ducks. 

During the game, Lake appeared to thrust his right arm toward Huskies linebacker Ruperake Fuavai and then shove him. Fuavai appeared like he was exchanging words with Jaylon Redd from the opposing team. 

Lake posted the following apology after the incident, "I want to apologize to every member of our team, and in particular to Ruperake Fuavai, for my actions during our game on Saturday. I also want to apologize to President Cauce and Jen Cohen for putting the University in this position. I fully accept the decision that was made. Our team has a right to expect better than what I displayed on Saturday, and I'm committed to doing just that - being better so our program will reflect all that's good about being a Washington Husky." 

Assistant coach Bob Gregory will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

A national search for a new head coach begins immediately.

A 1995 graduate of North Central, Lake continued his playing career at Eastern from 1995 to 1998. After that, he coached on Eastern’s staff in a variety of roles from 1999 to 2003 before leaving for his initial stint at UW in 2004. 

He took a job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers followed by a stint with the Detroit Lions. He returned to Tampa Bay in 2010. He worked as a coach for Boise State in 2012-2013 before re-joining the Huskies in 2014 as defensive backs coach. He was co-defensive coordinator until taking over as head coach.

Lake's tenure at UW ends with an overall record of 7-6.

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