Three coaches out at UW

SEATTLE - learned this morning that Washington Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt, Linebackers Coach Mike Cox, and Safeties Coach Jeff Mills will not be retained for 2012. Head Coach Steve Sarkisian made the decision after Washington's 67-56 loss to Baylor in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29th, a game in which the Huskies also gave up a school-record 777 yards.

UW officials were not immediately available for comment. Calls were also made to the coaches involved, but were unavailable as of press time.

"I want to thank Nick Holt, Mike Cox, and Jeff Mills for their hard work and dedication throughout the last three years," Sarkisian said via press statement. "They were instrumental in the leadership and development of countless young men, and they have left our program in a better place. I am grateful for their service to our program and to the University of Washington and I wish them all the best in their future endeavors."

With these moves, Sarkisian will basically have to replace his entire defensive staff, as cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin left Washington earlier to take a similar position at UCLA. The only defensive coach remaining is DL coach and Recruiting Coordinator Johnny Nansen. Sarkisian certainly has some flexibility when looking at future hires, depending on if he wants his new defensive coordinator to also be - like Holt was - his Assistant Head Coach and right-hand man.

Holt was initially recruited by Sarkisian to man the defense, as well as be his Assistant Head Coach. His defenses during his 38-game tenure at UW gave up an average of 31 points per game. The 467 total points given up in 2012 was also the most given up all-time; the previous number of 463 points was during the winless 2008 campaign.

While there were some glaring defensive numbers during the 2011 season - the 446 rushing yards and 65 points given up against Stanford, for instance - the Alamo Bowl fiasco appears to have been the last straw for a defensive staff that was never able to get their talent to gel consistently on the field.

The 777 yards and 67 points conceded to Baylor are both NCAA bowl records; three Bears rushers combined for a remarkable 482 yards rushing was second all-time to the even more remarkable 566 yards the 1973 Huskies surrendered in a 62-13 loss to UCLA.

While it made sense for Holt to bear the brunt for the Huskies' defensive failures, the removal of Cox and Mills represents a sea change for Washington, who have flourished offensively under the tutelage of Sarkisian and Offensive Coordinator Doug Nussmeier.

It certainly signals a move toward Washington finding a coach that can assemble a staff and create the same type of success they have had on the other side of the ball.

At the time of his hiring in December 2008, Holt appeared to be the logical man to take charge of the defense, having coached linebackers, and the defensive line before becoming USC's Defensive Coordinator for four years under Pete Carroll. Top Stories