Shocking news out of Seattle. The University of Washington announced Monday that head football coach Chris Petersen will step down following the team's bowl game.
In a statement released by the school, Petersen said "It has been a privilege and a professional dream fulfilled to be part of this world-class institution... I will forever be grateful, honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to coach our fine young men on Montlake for these past six seasons. I thank each of them, as well as our coaches and administrative staff for the incredible commitment they've made to Husky football during my tenure. The football program and Husky Athletics across the board will continue to prosper, and do it the right way, with Jen Cohen's leadership and the University administration's commitment to excellence. I'll be a Husky for life, but now is the right time for me to step away from my head coaching duties, and recharge."
Petersen spent six seasons with the Huskies, going 54-26 over that span and winning the Pac-12 Conference title in 2016 and 2018. Prior to arriving at Washington, Petersen was the head coach for the Boise State Broncos. In eight seasons at Boise State, he led to team to a 92-12 record and an improbable win over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. For his career, Petersen holds a record of 148-38, and his .793 winning percentage ranks second among active coaches with at least five years at the helm.
Washington has already named defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake as his successor.
You can read the school's full press release HERE.
Washington head coach Jimmy Lake is turning to a familiar face to fill his tight ends coach vacancy.
Saturday, Lake announced Derham Cato to the role. Cato spent the last four seasons as an offensive analyst for the Washington football program
Cato first joined the UW staff as an offensive analyst in February of 2016.
"Derham has worked his way up to this position," Lake said in a team release. "He's a very smart coach and he's a grinder. He's knowledgeable in the passing and run games, and he's been an offensive coordinator and coached tight ends."
In his first season with the Huskies, Cato helped the offense to one of the most productive seasons in school history. The Huskies scored a school-record 77 touchdowns and 585 points (41.3 per game) while averaging 456.9 yards of total offense, third-best in school history.
"I'm really excited to have the opportunity to take the next step in my career," Cato said. "I'm very grateful to Coach Lake and I can't wait to get going."
Cato has been on the Husky staff for two Pac-12 Championships (2016 and 2018), three straight 10-win seasons and three straight berths in New Years Six bowl games.
Prior to joining the Washington staff, Cato was a offensive coordinator at Davidson for the 2015 season after having served as offensive line and tight ends coach there in 2014.
New Washington head coach Jimmy Lake will be replacing numerous parts of his offense next season and filled a huge gap.
Lake, who moved from OC to head coach last month, named former Penn State offensive coordinator John Donovan at the same position for the Huskies.
"Coach Donovan has a great deal of experience at both the college and NFL levels, learning from a lot of great offensive minds about coaching the kind of aggressive, pro-style offense we want to play here at Washington," Lake said. "From my own experience, I know how much a coach can learn and grow by spending significant time in the NFL. I'm excited for him to get to Seattle and get started."
Donovan coached under Penn State head coach James Franklin (2011-2013) at both Vanderbilt and Penn State (2014-2015). Following the 2015 season where the Nittany Lions ranked 105th in the country in total offense (348.4 yards) and 100th in points per game (23.2 points), Donovan was fired and replaced by Joe Moorhead. The Nittany Lions would then win the Big Ten in their first season without Donovan as offensive coordinator.
Following his departure from Penn State, the Jacksonville Jaguars hired him in 2016 to be an Offensive Quality Control coach and later named an Offensive Assistant. He worked with quarterback Blake Bortles in 2017 when the Jaguars went 10-6, won the AFC South and narrowly lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
Donovan seems excited to be apart of the program.
I couldn't be more excited to be a part of such a great university, with unbelievable football tradition, like the University of Washington. Thanks to Coach Lake and everyone involved for this opportunity, and I'm looking forward to getting started. Go Dawgs!
Reaction from Penn State fans isn't promising for Dawgs fans.
The Huskies will not have much offensive continuity next season.
Running back Salvon Ahmed will forgo his senior season at Washington and declare for the 2020 NFL Draft.
The junior became the ninth Husky to run for over 1,000 yards in a season after finishing the year with 1,020 rushing yards, and 11 touchdowns on 188 carries.
New head coach Jimmy Lake thanked Ahmed for his contributions to the program.
I want to thank Salvon for all of the hard work he has put in, both on and off the field. He was a great example of what Husky Football is all about, and I'm sure that he'll have plenty of success in the future.
Ahmed will join his quarterback, Jacob Eason, in declaring for the NFL Draft leaving the Huskies needing to replace both key positions this offseason in addition to an offensive coordinator and three offensive linemen.
At running back the Huskies have seniors Sean McGrew and Kamari Pleasant, sophomore Richard Newton, redshirt freshman Cameron Davis and true freshmen Sam Adams II and Jay'Veon Sunday.
Washington quarterback Jacob Eason forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.
“Playing this season for the University of Washington has been one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Eason wrote in his post on Twitter. “UW has given me an incredible opportunity to develop as a football player and a person and I am forever grateful and honored to be a Husky.”
“After contemplating my future with my family and coaches, I have decided to forego my fifth year of college and enter the 2020 NFL draft. The opportunity to play quarterback in the NFL has been a lifelong dream, and my heart is set on the challenge ahead.”
Eason, a fourth-year junior from Lake Stevens, Wash., started all 13 games for the Huskies in 2019, throwing for 3,132 yards and 23 touchdowns on 260-of-405 passing (64.2 percent). His yardage total was fourth-highest in UW history, while his 23 TD passes ranked sixth. He also had top-10 marks in completions (third), completion percentage (seventh) and passing efficiency (seventh).
"I want to thank everyone at the UW – my teammates, the coaching staff and the fans – for making these last two years so memorable," Eason said in a release. "I'm very happy that I was able to come home and play for the Dawgs, and will always be grateful."
Eason was the 2015 National Gatorade Player of the Year in high school and came to the Washington after he began his college career at Georgia. He was the Bulldogs' starter in 2016 as a true freshmen. After missing most of the 2017 season due to injury, he transferred to Washington, where he redshirted the 2018 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
The Huskies finished 8-5 this season.
On Monday morning, then-Washington Huskies head coach Chris Petersen shocked the college football world by resigning as head coach following their bowl game next month.
Defensive Coordinator Jimmy Lake was named as his successor. Immediately following the announcement, speculation ran rampant of what Petersen would do next. Was he USC-bound? What about the NFL? Would he be the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys?
Official word is that Petersen will transition into an advisory role with the Huskies, at least, in the immediate future.
At his press conference today, Petersen discussed if he’s done coaching when asked.
I’m not falling into that trick question...my whole plan is to get rested, to get recharged, and get redirected. Like the one thing I know is that I’m not ready to do nothing. I just gotta figure out where all this energy and this passion and inspiration goes. I don’t want it to be on the football field.
It sounds like Petersen doesn’t want to return to coaching football anytime soon. He's burned out, which is understandable considering how heavy and constant the workload is when running a program the size of Washington's. That position demands around the clock work hours between recruiting, game-planning, running practice, watching film, and oh, the actual games themselves.
Petersen said he likes being around people who strive for excellence, he loves people who are great at their jobs.
The now former Huskies head coach becomes another in a recent trend of major programs having their coaches step down during their 50s. Other recent examples include Bob Stoops at Oklahoma (56) and Urban Meyer at Ohio State (54). In both cases, one of the coordinators was promoted in their place. And in both cases, they eventually returned to coaching.
On Monday morning, Chris Petersen shocked college football by resigning as head coach of the Washington Huskies after six seasons in Seattle. His replacement is former defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake, who according to The Athletic's Bruce Feldman, has turned down multiple offers waiting for this opportunity.
At his introductory press conference, Lake said he will follow a similar formula as how Petersen ran the program, but he had the following to say about what he’ll do differently as head coach of the Huskies.
We’re going to have a different style on offense. We’re going to have a different style on our special teams. We’re going to be aggressive. We’re going to attack, and this place is ready to roll.
Earlier in the press conference, he highlighted his love for X’s and O’s and football strategy will also separate his program from Petersen’s.
Also, recruiting for the Huskies should increase as Lake, who has been the Huskies ace recruiter for years, will now be running the entire show. He’ll be able to be more aggressive in recruiting than when Petersen was at the helm.
Looking for proof of that? Not a single Huskies commit has decommitted more than 24 hours after the shocking head coaching change announcement, which is nearly unheard of whenever in a situation like this one. For example, when Willie Taggart abruptly left Eugene a handful of the Ducks’ commits immediately decommitted. To not have any recruiting collateral damage is quite impressive.
It’s unclear how Lake will handle running an entire program since this will be his first head coaching gig; however, he’s set up as well as anyone could hope.