Kalen DeBoer’s predecessor deserves a spot on the list of worst head coaching hires in program history. Lake was Chris Peterson’s defensive coordinator, a trusty member of a stable coaching regime, Lake was the highest-paid coordinator in the conference for years. However, he didn’t work out as the captain of the ship.
Lake had the deck stacked against him from the very start. His first year was the pandemic-shortened season in 2020, and he managed to lead Washington to a 3-1 record. He even kept much of the roster together into 2021, it just wasn’t a good enough roster to save his job.
The 2021 Washington recruiting class was 26th in the country. Lake also added five transfers, notable among them, Ja’Lynn Polk. Still, it wasn’t enough for the administration to be sold on his vision and team-building ability.
Washington began the year 4-5 and, amidst a divide in the locker room and tension among the coaching staff, Lake had an altercation with walk-on linebacker Ruperake Fuvai on November, 6 against Oregon and the incident was ultimately his undoing.