Newest Husky coach packing his bags

When Dawgman.com called the newest Husky coach this afternoon, he was still in Tucson, Arizona, packing his bags and getting ready to move to Seattle. Bobby Kennedy was hired by Rick Neuheisel last week to fill the void left by Tony Alford's departure to Iowa State.

"I'm excited about the move. Now I'm just trying to get all my ducks in a row before leaving," said Kennedy.

It was assumed that Kennedy would fill Tony Alford's position as running backs coach, the same title he held under John Mackovic at Arizona, but it's still up in the air at this point.

"My responsibilities are still to be determined. I think Neuheisel is just trying to hire the best guys he can to coach the offense. I'm not sure if I'll coach running backs or receivers, that will be determined by him," said Kennedy.

Bobby Kennedy, 35 years old, played quarterback at Northern Colorado. He didn't see extensive playing time for the Bears but enjoyed his experience there and wanted to become a coach.

His first stint came as a Graduate Assistant for John Mackovic for the University of Illinois.

He then moved to the East coast and became a GA for the legendary Joe Paterno at Penn State. That was where he felt that he first got his hands dirty.

"I worked exclusively with the Tight Ends. It was my first time coaching a position, which was a great experience."

One of Kennedy's prized pupils was Kyle Brady of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

His time in Happy Valley made quite an impression on him.

"I've been really blessed to be around good people. For a young coach, I don't know if there is a better coach to learn from than Joe Paterno. He's awesome, one of the best people I've been around. The neat thing is, once you've been to Penn State, you are kind of in the family and he watches out for you. He writes me notes now and again. That's what I appreciate about Joe Paterno, he's just a great man."

His first full-time job as a coach came at Wyoming, working for Joe Tiller, the same man who Rick Neuheisel faced in the 2001 Rose Bowl. "I coached the wide receivers at Wyoming and got to work with Ron Yarborough and Marcus Harris, two great players," said Kennedy.

He was then reunited with Jim Caldwell, with whom he had coached with at Penn State. Caldwell lured Kennedy away to Wake Forrest to coach the wide receivers, and later the running backs, for the Demon Deacons. He was in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for six seasons.

When Caldwell and his staff were let go from Wake Forrest, Arizona's John Mackovic came calling and snapped up Kennedy to coach Clarence Farmer for the Wildcats last year. Farmer had 1229 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2001 under Kennedy's watch.

Then this spring, his boss in Tucson received a phone call from Seattle, Washington.

"Coach Neuheisel talked to Coach Mackovic and it happened rather quickly. I was surprised by it. I knew a couple of guys on their staff (Tim Hundley and Tom Williams) and I've always had great respect for Rick Neuheisel and wanted the opportunity to work for him," said Kennedy.

"I used to run into Williams when recruiting the LA area and we kind of developed a relationship and mutual respect for one another."

Unfortunately Kennedy won't get the opportunity to coach with him, as Williams took a job that reunited him with his Alma Mater, Stanford.

"I think my strength as a coach is that I have a great relationship with my players," said Kennedy.

"I don't claim to know it all as a football coach, but if you dive into any situation and throw everything you have into it, your heard and your mind, the best will come out. What I've always valued in this profession are the personal relationships you develop with your players and the positive way you can influence them. I'm a good teacher but I also think I am a decent person and have a positive relationship with my players."

Rick Neuheisel had resumes stacked a foot high in his office in response to the opening for a running backs coach. Kennedy feels that his coaching pedigree may have helped him land the job. "I think when you work for guys like Mackovic, Caldwell, and Paterno, people might look at that the guys that these men have hired. That speaks volumes and can be a factor."

Kennedy considers Neuheisel in that same class, and is the main reason why he is changing his work address. "The opportunity to work for a guy like Rick Neuheisel is a unique situation, otherwise I probably wouldn't have left Arizona."

Kennedy has not had the opportunity to look at any of his newest players yet.

"When I get to the UW I plan on diving in and really getting to know them. I'll look at tape and get familiar with them."

Kennedy is married but has no children. "We want to enjoy each other for the time being. My wife kids me about being 35 and not getting any younger. We have only been married three years and I hope kids are in our future but it always seems like I've got 12-13 kids when I'm coaching them."

Bobby was on the opposite sideline last year in Husky Stadium when Washington defeated the Wildcats in an incredible finish. "When I came up to Seattle last year I was really impressed. What a great atmosphere, and I'm excited to be a part of that," said Kennedy.

"I know the tradition at Washington and they've had some great teams and coaches. I'm excited about it. The atmosphere there is just phenomenal."

He had something he wanted to share with the Husky fans that read Dawgman.com

"Tell them that what I'd like to do is to come to the UW and be there for a while. I was fortunate to be at Wake Forrest for six years. I met my wife there. It was great to be there and get to know the kids, and to get to know the people of the community and forming relationships. I'm excited to get up to Seattle and becoming part of the community. I'm diving in with both feet."

And Seattle will welcome him with open arms.

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