Willingham Gone At End Of Season
Tyrone Willingham has been told he will be replaced by Washington at the end of the season. The announcement came at Monday's weekly press conference.
When asked what the benefit was to making the announcement now, Willingham responded, "I think one, it eliminates all of the speculation, hopefully the negativity. It allows our young men to not walk around wondering what will happen in the future. Even though there are still some questions of course with who the new coach will be. It allows our administration to go about doing their job."
He was emphatic in his response that it was not his decision. "It's just not in my makeup" (to give up).
Athletic Director Scott Woodward sat with Willingham at the press conference and explained his position on why the decision was reached. "It became quite obvious with the performance on the football field that it wasn't up to what we had talked about at the beginning of the season and previous to the season. It became more obvious as time went on in the season", Woodward said.
It was revealed that discussion began the day after the Huskies lost to Oregon State on October 18.
Willingham's record at Washington is 11-32 since replacing Keith Gilbertson in 2005. Under his tutelage, the Huskies are 6-24 against PAC-10 competition. Willingham's teams went 2-9 in 2005, 5-7 in 2006, and 4-9 last season. Currently, Washington is 0-7 and tied with North Texas for the longest losing streak among FBS teams at 9 games. The Huskies have not won a game since week 10 of last season (Nov. 17) when they defeated California 37-23.
This past Saturday, Washington was drubbed 33-7 at home by Notre Dame, the team that fired Willingham after the 2004 season. He was 10-3 with the Irish in his first campaign in 2002, but finished with seasons of 6-6 and 5-7.
The Irish lured him from Stanford after his 2001 Cardinal team went 9-3. He was 44-36-1 in 7 seasons at Stanford where his teams went to four bowl games, but lost three of those. His overall bowl record in 14 seasons as a FBS head coach is 1-5.
Washington visits USC on Saturday as a 40-point underdog. The Huskies then return home for games against UCLA and Arizona State before concluding their season on the road against Washington State and California. The home game against the Bruins has an interesting backdrop as it features the return of former head coach Rick Neuheisel to Washington. Neuheisel is widely blamed by University officials as the man who dragged the program down.