"Coach Gilbertson and I have talked for several weeks about the football program and we mutually agreed that it needs an immediate boost," said Washington directors of athletics Todd Turner. "Keith will finish this season as our head coach and has agreed to assist me beyond that time to develop a strategy for reinvestment by our University in its football program.
"While I was not here when he accepted the head coaching position, I know this has been a difficult two-year tenure for him. He cares very deeply for Husky football and he wants to see it succeed at the highest level. We will always appreciate Keith stepping forward, in the most difficult of times, and attempting to get the program back on course. He loves to coach and he loves this team and he and his staff are going to do everything possible over the next three weeks to help their players win some games."
During his two-year tenure as Washington's head coach, Gilbertson's record stands at 7-13. In eight seasons as a head coach, including stints at Idaho (1986-88) and California (1992-1995), Gilbertson's career record stands at 55-48.
Gilbertson first worked at Washington as a graduate assistant for Don James in 1976. In 1989 he left his head coaching position at Idaho to return to Washington as the Huskies' offensive line coach. He took over as the team's offensive coordinator in 1991, the year the Huskies went 12-0 and won the National Championship. After working for the Seattle Seahawks from 1996-98, he returned to Washington as an assistant coaching from 1999-2002. He was named the Huskies' 24th head coach on July 29, 2003.
"This place means a lot to me and it has really been a part of my family for several generations," Gilbertson said. "I want to see this program succeed and get rolling again. Whatever I can do to help, I'll do. Sure I wish we had been more successful and won more games. But there was never a day I didn't enjoy coaching over the past two years. We've been fortunate to coach some really great kids. I just wish they had a chance to enjoy more success on the field for all the effort they put into the game. As for the future of Husky football, I believe Todd Turner and Dr. (Mark) Emmert know what it will take to compete for championships and I have discussed that with them. I think they are committed to doing what it will take and do it the right way."
Following the conclusion of the season Gilbertson will have hip replacement surgery and then take off several months to recover from the procedure.
"Keith came into a difficult situation and worked hard to turn the program around, but obviously things went in a different direction," said University president Mark Emmert. "His relationship to this institution goes back many years and includes the glory days of Washington football, and we are grateful for his years of service. There are still three games to play, and I know Keith, his staff, and the players will compete hard to win them. We now have the challenging task of finding the next coach. The University of Washington aspires to excellence in all that we do. We must make certain that we always provide our students with an opportunity to compete at the highest levels, academically and athletically."
The search to find Gilbertson's successor will begin immediately according to Turner. Turner said the contracts for all of the current assistant coaches will be honored through their current term.
Gilbertson to Step Down
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