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Woodward has immediate challenges

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I think many Husky fans were disappointed yesterday with the anti-climatic announcement that Scott Woodward was being named the permanent athletic director at the university of Washington.

The nationwide search took nine months and over a dozen interviews were held but in the end President Mark Emmert decided that the best man for the job was already on campus sitting in that exact seat.

I think Emmert made a good choice for many reasons.

1. He and Woodward are on the exact same page concerning all the issues that need to be resolved concerning Washington athletics. What worries Husky fans is what is written on that page.

2. Woodward has been at the University for four years. In that time he worked closely with Turner, and when Todd was fired he assumed the role as AD for the past nine months. He lost key associate AD's this past summer so he has been filling in for them as well.

3. Woodward can hit the job running. No time spent looking for a new house with the wife. No six month wait to get up to speed with personnel and the issues facing the program. Woodward can begin making the changes he couldn't make as an interim.

4. Woodward is the point man for the renovation of Husky Stadium. Scott is a political animal and has a lot of experience working with state government in securing funds for universities. The major boosters like him and that rest of the fan base should warm up to him quickly as he makes changes.

Willingham

The biggest decision Woodward faces is what to do with Tyrone Willingham. The administration hasn't officially thrown in the towel and don't expect them to do anything until after the WSU game on November 22nd.

Expect them to keep saying that they support Willingham and they won't make a decision until after the season. Anything less than that throws the season into chaos which doesn't help anything. The smart thing is to give the coach and the current team support during the season.

The word on the street is that it will take six wins to get Willingham an extension on his contract. His fate will be decided over the next four weeks as Washington faces a slate of winnable games. He needs to go a minimum of 3-1 during that stretch to have a fighting chance.

Who do you select as the new head coach?

In 1956 the Huskies approached Bear Bryant, and Bud Wilkinson. Neither coach was interested but they recommended Darryl Royal who was coaching at Mississippi State. In 1957 Washington had to replace Royal who left after one year to coach at Texas where he had a legendary career.

Washington chose from among these three young future hall of fame coaches who were just beginning their head coaching careers. UW chose Owens because his personality and enthusiasm knocked them out. The thumbs up from Bear Bryant and Bud Wilkinson didn't hurt either. The other two unknown guys who weren't chosen ended up doing pretty well.

  • Jim Owens
  • Vince Lombardi
  • Tom Landry

In 1975 Washington offered the job to three head coaches who ended up turning the job down to take other opportunities. Athletic Director Joe Kearney ended up hiring a little known football coach from Kent State by the name of Don James. Devine was about locked up until Ara Parseghian unexpectedly left Notre Dame. the huskies scrambled and offered the job to White who chose Illinois, and Rogers who chose Michigan State.

  • Dan Devine
  • Mike White
  • Daryl Rogers
  • Don James

Jim Lambright was appointed head coach soon after Don James resigned. When Jim was fired Barbara Hedges wanted to make a hiring with lots of sizzle.Her first choice was Oregon State coach Mike Riley who would have taken the job if he had not been offered the San Diego Chargers job. The public focus then changed to former UW assistants Chris Tormey and Gary Pinkel. Hedges hired Rick Neuheisel which touched off a firestorm between UW and Colorado.

I liked Rick, but in retrospect Riley or Pinkel would have been the best choices, and the program would not have suffered the downturn we are currently experiencing.

  • Mike Riley
  • Rick Neuheisel
  • Gary Pinkel
  • Chris Tormey

Keith Gilbertson took over when Rick Neuheisel was fired in June. In his second season running the circus he met the same fate and chose to go down on his sword.

  • Jeff Tedford
  • Steve Spurrier
  • Urban Meyer
  • Les Miles
  • Tyrone Willingham
  • Tom O'Brien

Once something in the SEC or ACC opened up there wasn't a chance for Spurrier. The golf is way too good to pass up in the Southeast. Tedford listened but used it to leverage an extension and raise at California. Meyer listened but was never really in it choosing Florida over Notre Dame. Miles went to LSU.

That left Boston College's Tom O'Brien and the recently fired coach at Notre Dame Tyrone Willingham. Obviously Todd Turner didn't watch the game film of some BC/ND football games. O'Brien pulled out after Washington screwed around waiting for Willingham.

O'Brien in hindsight would have been the right choice.

Who do you pick from in 2008?

First of all the ship has probably sailed for Jim Mora Jr, Jeff Tedford, Nick Saban, and Gary Pinkel. This is the probable list UW will start to prospect with. Riley is the name I keep hearing. That makes sense after what he has accomplished at Oregon State. The next name I keep hearing being discussed is Pat Hill who is probably ready for a change of scenery.

  • Mike Riley  (Oregon State)
  • Brian Kelly  ( Cincinnati)
  • Skip Holtz  (East Carolina)
  • Pat Hill  (Fresno State)
  • Gary Patterson  (TCU)
  • Lane Kiffen (Oakland Raiders)
  • Todd Graham (Tulsa)
  • Randy Edsall  (U-Conn)
  • Chris Petersen  (Boise State)
  • Chip Kelly  (Oregon assistant)
  • Steve Sarkesian (USC assistant)