Coach's Corner

Obviously I'm biased, but I think that I can make a decent argument that the firing of Jim Lambright and his staff was certainly one of the key events that triggered the current downslide of Husky football. At the very least it disrupted almost 30 consecutive years of winning tradition.

I also strongly believe that the program is currently on its way back under Coach Tyrone Willingham.

Looking back, I really think that in the late 90's we had finally overcome the sanctions that had crippled our team in 1993. We really thought that we were ready to return to the Rose Bowl. We'll never really know for sure because just as we were about to prove it, we got fired and Rick Neuheisel took our kids there instead.

Rick and his staff did a great job and led that team to a high national ranking and a proud Rose Bowl victory with many kids that we recruited to Washington.

Just to set the record straight, time has a way of healing old wounds and there is no doubt that I personally believe that I am much better off now that I am out of coaching. I have finally found peace with not being directly in the game, partly because I thoroughly enjoy my role here on and on the radio supporting the team.

Nevertheless, Jim Lambright had a solid staff in place and we had stayed competitive even though a lot of the time it took smoke and mirrors. Essentially, the sanctions had left us without 20 members of our upper classes because of the timing. In that wake, we eventually fell to a 6-5 season and lost in the Aloha Bowl to finish 6-6. We also lost our jobs.

One of the real bright coaches on that staff was Scott Linehan, who served as Lambright's offensive coordinator. The success of Scott Linehan since departing Washington is reflective of my premise that we indeed had a lot of good locally grown coaches on Lambo's staff.

Scott is now the head coach of the St. Louis Rams and has no less than three other members of Lambright's Husky staff helping him out.

Ron Milus who coached the defensive backs under Lambo and then with the Broncos and Giants in the NFL, has joined Linehan in a similar role. Ron grew up in Tacoma and had played for the Huskies back in the Orange Bowl era and then entered the coaching ranks right when we won the National Championship. He will always be a Husky and was devastated when we were all fired.

Wayne Moses, who initially stayed with Neuheisel and then went to Stanford and then to Pittsburg and then back to Stanford, joins Linehan as his running backs coach. Moses, who had also played for the Huskies during the Warren Moon Rose Bowl era, has been a well-respected backfield coach for close to 25 years.

Randy Hanson, who was a graduate assistant for us under Lambo, has worked with Linehan since he was with the Minnesota Vikings and now joins Scott with the Rams.

Of course, the venerable Randy Hart was also on Lambright's staff as was Steve Morton, currently with Dick Tomey at San Jose State after stops at USC and Stanford. They were the line coaches for Lambo and both very well respected in the profession. Both stay in regular communications with Linehan. Randy takes a lot of heat from internet jockeys looking for scapegoats, but if you talk to football coaches (Randy's peers), they'll all tell you what a fine coach Randy is and how much they learn in talking to him. Believe who you want.

Rick Mallory, who had also played for the Huskies and then in the NFL, was Lambo's tight ends and special teams coordinator and now serves as the offensive line coach at Memphis State where they have gone to 2 bowls in a row.

Cary Conklin, who played quarterback for the Huskies and then also played in the NFL, is back in the show working in scouting and personnel. He served as Lambo's receivers coach and is in close communications with Linehan with whom he became close friends working, where else, at Washington.

I am so proud to have worked with all of these men and to see them continue their careers at such a high level is gratifying to say the least. We knew at the time we were fired that we were on the verge of something big. To a man, each is saddened and shocked by what has happened after we all left the Huskies.

But things happen for a reason, so you just go on.

Linehan, who grew up in Sunnyside and went to college at Idaho, is another product of the State of Washington's great football legacy. He, like Lambright, Keith Gilbertson, Mike Price at UTEP, and Dennis Erickson, now back again at Idaho, are all from Everett and products of this state's football system.

Interestingly enough, when Lambright was let go, Linehan from Sunnyside, Mallory from Renton, Morton from Chehalis, Milus from Tacoma, Moses from the UW, Scott Pelluer from Bellevue, and I from Seattle all learned our football by playing in this very state. Also hailing from the northwest were Chris Tormey and Bill Dietrick, both out of Spokane and both also one time members of Lambright's staff.

Every one of these coaches is still in the game with the exception of Coach Lambright - and yours truly. I can say with great passion that if given time, I honestly do not believe that Washington would not have had back to back 1-10 and 2-9 seasons under our staff.

Of course, all of them would have had to have overcome the recruiting coordinator of that time, who was clearly holding them back. Top Stories