The Huskies announced the hiring of Seattle-native Daniel Shapiro as the team's new strength coach, along with the departures of Paul Fortier and Jim Shaw on Wednesday.
Head Coach Lorenzo Romar's staff is now set for this coming season. Raphael Chillious returns to the Huskies as an assistant coach after spending a season at Villanova, while T.J. Otzelberger joins the Huskies after serving as an associate head coach and assistant at Iowa State for seven seasons. Former assistant coach Lamont Smith is no longer on the coaching staff after accepting a position at New Mexico. Chillious and Otzelberger join second-year assistant coach Brad Jackson.
Though these changes mark a major overhaul of the program, they do not come as a surprise. The Huskies have not made the NCAA tournament for two consecutive seasons and a push for change might have been coming from the higher-ups in the UW athletic department. Or, maybe Romar felt the need to switch things up after the team's recent struggles.
The departure of Jim Shaw is perhaps the most radical change out of this overall transition. Shaw spent 10 seasons with Romar at Washington and a half-season with Romar at Saint Louis. The one constant in this program besides Romar during this past decade has been Shaw – I'm willing to say this move was not a voluntary one made by Romar nor Shaw.
Otzelberger and Jackson will provide an excellent X's and O's background while Chillious main strength is his recruiting ability. Interestingly enough, Romar has pegged Otzelberger as the team's recruiting coordinator even though most of his background comes from the Midwest. While Fortier and Shaw's connections were mainly on the West Coast, Otzelberger has Midwest connections while Chillious is well-connected to the East Coast. Whether this diversity is a strength or a weakness can be left up for debate.
Not to be lost in this shuffle is the hiring of Shapiro, who comes from the Sacramento Kings – he's worked with former Huskies Isaiah Thomas, Jon Brockman and Spencer Hawes.
Can Husky fans expect immediate and noticeable change this coming season? Absolutely, but fans must remember that impactful change sometimes takes time, and with recruiting playing such a huge role in a college basketball program's success, this new staff's impact may not be determined for a few years.