Washington football: Worst head coaching hires in program history

Washington was left to pick up the pieces after Kalen DeBoer fled for Tuscaloosa. Now, to usher in the Jedd Fisch era in Seattle, let's take a look at a few cautionary tales of failed Huskies coaches from the past.

Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham
Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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2005-2008. Tyrone Willingham. Tyrone Willingham. 1. player. . . Tyrone Willingham. 521.

The early 2000s was a tough stretch for Washington football. From Gilbertson to Willingham was far from an upgrade and Willingham managed to have a worse year than Gilbertson’s 2004 campaign. 

Willingham had found success as the head coach of Stanford from 1995-2001, amassing a record of 81-44 with a Rose Bowl appearance in 1999. He then made the jump to Notre Dame in 2002, taking over the storied program and leading it to a 10-3 year. 

However, he flew too close to the sun in South Bend. Willlingham authored a 5-7 season followed by a 6-5 year in 2004 and was dismissed. Washington wasted no time scooping him up, assuming he could recreate his success at Stanford. 

It took a bit of time for Willingham to outdo the 1-11 Gilbertson season. In Year 1 of the new regime, Willingham managed a one-win improvement to 2-9 and climbed to 5-7 in 2006. 

Somehow, 5-7 was his peak for the Huskies. In 2007, Washington went 4-9 and there was no bounce-back year on the horizon. In Willingham’s final season, he led the Huskies to the worst year in program history with an unthinkably awful 0-12 record.

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