Last week started with the whirlwind of news that Washington had plucked two coaches from California. The rumor was that Washington offered the coaches everything but the kitchen sink and when they didn't budge Sark and Woody threw in the kitchen sink. (Plus a fancy speed boat.)
Everybody in California went totally ballistic. Programs lose coaches everyday but the loss of 30 year old Tosh Lupoi was different. He was one of their own. He was born and bred a Golden Bear. He didn't know anything else and he had always preached that he was old blue through and through and would never leave.
When the unthinkable happened Cal coach Jeff Tedford and AD Sandy Barbour presented a united front to the shell shocked Bear Nation. They said they had done everything they could have done to keep Lupoi and Eric Kiesau but had run out of resources. Most Bear fans then assumed that Washington had spent over a half a million dollars a year just to lure Lupoi north.
"We are disappointed, though, in the timing of their decisions and the manner in which this has unfolded as we approach National Signing Day."
The normally mild mannered California Golden Blog called Tosh Lupoi a traitor, backstabber, and general scumbag even though they could understand the motivation behind taking he job. ($$$ Plus a fancy speed boat)
I get being underappreciated and all the ramifications that come with it but when you clear out in the middle of the night with no warning and are immediately in contact with recruits that morning when your employers don't even know yet and start not only recruiting for your new program the guys you recruited for Cal but tell them, "DON'T GO TO CAL?"
Avinash (Cal Blog Manager) also cunningly planted a rumor that Sark hunted and clubbed baby harp seals during the off season.
Well, I say no. We refuse to believe that Sark the Serial Seal-Beater actually exists, and all of you out there reading this should make sure that if people ever let this rumor spread online, that everyone else online knows that too. You don't want people to be going searching for Steve Sarkisian and then seeing "What's this I see about seals?" Washington fans, if you ever get angry about this rumor, just remember no one saw Sark ever sucker-punch a seal pup.
So anyone out there want to hear about the true reality of what went down last week?
When Wilcox and Sirmon were hired by Sark the first target on their list was Tosh Lupoi. Tosh was mentored by Wilcox when he was the LB coach at Cal and they have been close ever since. Wilcox offered Tosh a job at Tennessee (which Tosh turned down) and he would have been undoubtedly part of the package that would have moved on to Texas if Wilcox has accepted that job.
Tosh wasn't going to be an easy get because he does love Cal and he does bleed Old Blue. That being said there were some major cracks developing in the armor. At $164,000 per year he was one of the lowest paid coaches on the Cal coaching staff. That wasn't going to work long term.
Even though he was one of the lowest paid coaches on the staff he was the guy who was getting the most press because of his recruiting prowess. We have heard that there was some friction between the coaches because of that notoriety.
We also heard that Tosh felt under appreciated and was stagnating in an environment where there wasn't much room for growth. It wasn't like Cal DC Clancy Pendergrast was going to step aside to let Tosh take over the defense. So if he was going to achieve growth he was going to have to find it in another place.
Even though Jeff Tedford is one of the highest paid coaches ($2.8 million) in the conference his assistants are not paid nearly as well in comparison. Washington paid its assistants $2,284,024 in 2011 while Cal only distributed $1,570,000 to its assistants during the same time period.
Washington offered Lupoi $350,000 per year (three year contract) with a one time payment of an additional $100,000 as a signing bonus. He also gets another $100,000 if he stays all three years. That is a pretty sweet deal (a little more than Cozzetto money) but you would think that Cal could have matched it or at least come close.
Cal did reportedly counter with a raise of only $100,000 per year but it would take 50 or more more days to get that deal approved by the upper campus. Barbour and Tedford aren't in charge of the checkbook at Cal while Woody and Sark can pretty much do whatever they want within reason at Washington.
Lupoi made his decision, left a voice mail for Tedford (who was in the air), and did what all great assistant coaches do. He started immediately recruiting for Washington and it really hacked off everyone at Cal. We just went though this with Demetrice Martin and it is never a good thing when somebody nabs your ace recruiter.
While Cal fans are understandably upset about the way things went down...the point to be taken here is that California didn't do much to try to retain Lupoi. Tosh had no real choice other than take the better offer and move to a position with better upward mobility.
So who do you blame? Sark and Woody or Jeff and Sandy?
2012 Washington Football Coaching Salaries
Steve Sarkisian --- Head Coach, $2,250,000
Dan Cozzetto --- Offensive Line Coach & Run Game Coordinator, $300,000
Jimmie Dougherty -- Wide Receivers Coach & Pass Game Coordinator, $190,000
Keith Heyward --- Defensive Backs Coach, $150,000
Eric Kiesau --- Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks Coach, $375,000
Tosh Lupoi --- Defensive Line Coach & Defensive Run Game Coordinator, $350,000
Johnny Nansen --- Assistant Head Coach, Recruiting Coordinator & Special Teams Coordinator, $200,000
Peter Sirmon --- Linebackers Coach, $225,000
Joel Thomas --- Running Backs Coach & Associate Head Coach - Offense, $190,000
Justin Wilcox --- Defensive Coordinator, $750,000
Times Blue Chips
The annual Seattle Times Blue Chips were released in the Sunday paper. Zach Banner, Josh Garnett, Jeff Lindquist (UW), KeiVarae Russell (Notre Dame) and Cedric Dozier were the five in state players who were accorded the honor.
Garnett will decide between Michigan, Notre Dame, and Stanford. Dozier while committed to Cal is taking a long look at WSU and Washington State. Banner visited USC this past weekend. His finalists are UW, Oklahoma, and USC.
Recruiting Round Up
Zach Banner visited USC and rumors leaked out that he committed to the Trojans on the trip which were as usual untrue. He won't be announcing until signing day. He did have a good time while he was down there and apparently is leaning toward USC.
UW QB commit Cyler Miles also visited USC this past weekend. The Trojans don't have QB commit in this class yet so it makes sense that Kiffin is trying to work Miles whose stock went up over the last couple of weeks.
An article in one of the Island papers says that Shane Brostek is leaning toward Oregon. Shane says he doesn't have a favorite. Insiders still say that UW will close him during an in home between now and the end of the month.
Shaq Thompson has Washington in his top three now that Tosh Lupoi has moved to Washington. Oregon is the third school involved. Washington will try to close him in an in home visit on Thursday.
Chip Kelly to Tampa?
Numerous sources are saying that Oregon head coach Chip Kelly is headed to Tampa Bay. If that turns out to be true expect the Ducks to go hard and heavy after Boise head coach Chris Petersen.