The Washington Huskies defensive success over the last several seasons has had an architect leading the way and building a consistent winner.
According to several sources, Washington defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski will be leaving the Huskies and taking the same position with the Texas Longhorns.
A twist in all of this is, former Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian was just named the head coach at Texas and now is poaching coaches from his former employer.
This will be viewed as a significant loss for the Huskies, as Kwiatkowski is regarded as one of the top five best defensive coordinators in the entire country.
Kwiatkowski followed then head coach Chris Petersen to Washington back in December of 2013, from Boise State, to construct one of the best defenses in the nation.
During the span from 2015 to 2018, UW led the Pac-12 conference in total defense and scoring defense for four consecutive seasons under Kwiatkowski.
Back in 2018, in a surprise move, Kwiatkowski relinquished his playcalling duties as the defensive coordinator and ceded them to Jimmy Lake.
The decision was meant to keep Lake on staff, as he was receiving attention and offers from other schools and Kwiatkowski became the “unsung hero” of the staff.
“I don’t know if it’s ever happened this way, and at the end of the day I don’t really care. It’s not about my ego and my title. I know I’m a good coach and I know I have a big imprint on this defense. But I’m happy to do it to keep Jimmy around here and keep this thing rolling,” Kwiatkowski said back in 2018.
Coach Lake knows how valuable Kwiatkowski is, both as a coach and as a high character person. Back in October, Lake had this to say about his fellow coach.
“Coach K (Pete Kwiatkowski) and I go back to when I was at Eastern Washington. He was one of the coaches that talked me into not going into the business world and being a football coach. So coach K is a close friend of mine, a dear friend of mine. I can’t say enough about him. I don’t want to get emotional right now this morning, because I love the guy. I love the guy to death. He’s a close friend of mine. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever been around, and I appreciate that he’s here on our staff,” Lake said.
Based on pure resume alone, Kwiatkowski deserves this opportunity and could have left years ago if he wanted to, based upon his own merit.
During his career at Washington, the Huskies have gone 75 straight games without giving up 35 or more points, which is currently still the record. He has also boasted the #1 defense in the Pac-12 Conference 5 of the last 6 seasons and produced numerous players into the NFL.
This will be a humungous void for Jimmy Lake to fill, as replacing an elite defensive coordinator won’t be easy to do. The big question is how wide will that net be cast in filling the position?
Will Lake promote from within and go with a coach that is currently on his staff, or will he use all of his resources and reel in another top tier elite defensive coordinator from around the country.
Bottom line is that this decision needs to be a home run hire for the program in order for the Huskies to keep up their standards of championship-level defense going forward.
A sad day for Husky Nation, but Kwiatkowski has earned his opportunity to step outside of the wing of Petersen’s coaching tree and prove himself somewhere else.
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