Coach Lambright is, without a doubt, one of the greatest defensive coaches ever to coach in this conference. His own coach, former Jim Owens assistant Tom Tipps, is another that comes to mind, but Jim really set the standard for defensive excellence during his close to 40 years with the Huskies.
Jim was an excellent teacher of the game and an absolute no nonsense coordinator. He really developed a wonderful feel for the X's and O's of defensive football. I had the privilege of working with him in the press box for 10 of the years I was with the Huskies. He was masterful in calling a defensive game and would go with his gut on game day.
Lambo made excellent adjustments on the run and always had enough of a defensive package to counter anything an offense could throw at him. He benefited greatly from the fact that Coach James was also a defensive minded coach and between the two of them they made sure the Husky defenders were fierce warriors and ALWAYS prepared.
With his firing in 1998, Jim worked temporarily in the motivational business, but has since moved back into a retired life in which he concentrates on his Foundation and his farm. The Lambrights have three horses. The one they call "Rattler" is a sight to behold. I used to ride Rattler when we were both young but he is now 40 and his back sways so much that I'd be afraid his belly would drag on the ground if I dared saddle him up.
Besides the horses they have two goats, five dogs, four cats, 16 chickens, a parrot, cockatiels, lovebirds, Canaries, pigeons, and who knows what other kinds of birds in their belfry.
Jim does his outside "chores" on a daily basis, and during the last year actually cut down some 70 trees in developing their property. After dropping one hemlock myself and then taking three months to chop it up, I can tell you that Coach still has those "Popeye" forearms.
Much of his attention is spent on the Lambright Foundation for the Neimann-Pick disease, which afflicts two of their sons. It is a slow degenerative disease that affects the body's ability to break down cholesterol in the blood. It is similar to Lou Gehrig's disease in that it affects speech and coordination. Jim will be hosting a golf fundraiser this coming August 23rd and gets help from Husky coaches Jim Owens, Don James, and Rick Neuheisel.
Coach Lambright still hits the speaking road and enjoys talking about team building and motivation, as well as just getting out meeting people. He still attends a regular Bible study and is getting more and more back into Husky football. He and Lynne have nine grandchildren and spend as much time with them as possible.
So to answer the original question, Coach Lambright is alive and well. He has certainly well adjusted to not wearing purple on a daily basis. Oh sure, the shock of not being on the sidelines was a major adjustment to him but he has gradually let the negative thoughts go and has embraced the current Husky team, and wants only the best for the kids and coaches. This makes me proud because I set a goal for myself to help, with time, to bring Coach back into the fold as a true Husky fan. He attended two of the three scrimmages this spring and is hoping to follow them to the Rose Bowl.
He is one of the greatest Huskies of all time and should always be remembered as the man who gave the most, in terms of years of service, to the Purple and Gold. He will always be my friend and even though it is extremely hard to work for a friend, I personally grew as a man because of my friendship with him. He was the one who brought me into Husky football and after 16 years he and I walked out of it together.
If you see him, please take the time to say hello to Coach. He loved the fans and was a great role model for a lot of players. He personified toughness and left a legacy with the program that will never be forgotten.
Would he ever coach again? I'd have said yes a couple of years ago but now I don't think so. He is happy with his career and even though it didn't end on his terms, it was a great run and he left a lot of himself behind. He still has a ton of energy and if he ever got to stop feeding the chickens and stealing their eggs after feeding the horses and dogs, and cats, and goats, and birds, then he may find the time to go into the big city and watch his favorite team.
| Dawgman.com columnist and KJR 950 Sports Radio personality, Dick Baird.|
Dick Baird was an Assistant Coach (Linebackers) and Recruiting Coordinator at the UW from 1985-1998. He has joined the Dawgman.com staff as a featured columnist for both the web site and Sports Washington magazine. In addition to his regular editorial columns, Coach Baird will try to provide some of his unique perspective by answering a few of your selected questions online. If you would like to send in your questions, please CLICK HERE.
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