Washington is reportedly turning to one of their former Pac-12 rivals to succeed former head coach Kalen DeBoer, who left Friday for the Alabama job following Nick Saban’s retirement.
The Huskies are hiring Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch as their next head coach, per multiple reports. Fisch has already told people he has taken the Washington job and has called a team meeting for later Sunday afternoon, according to 247Sports. ESPN first reported that Fisch was emerging as the leading candidate for the Huskies.
Less than a week after playing for the national championship, the Huskies moved quickly to fill the vacancy created when DeBoer left for Alabama.
Washington athletic director Troy Dannen was tasked with his first big decision since taking over in October and tried to rapidly provide stability for a football program coming off its best season in more than three decades.
Fisch oversaw a massive turnaround over his three seasons in Tucson. Arizona went 1-11 in 2021 but steadily improved from there, finishing 5-7 in 2022 and 10-3 in 2023. He has received rave reviews for his work in Tucson, especially this past season when the Wildcats finished No. 11 in the final AP Poll, third in the Pac-12 standings and beat Oklahoma in the Alamo Bowl. Arizona is moving to the Big 12 starting next season but is facing heavy financial issues within its athletic department, and Fisch could see more stability at Washington.
Arizona is the first head-coaching gig for Fisch, who bounced around between the college and professional game as an assistant for most of his coaching career. He spent time with Michigan, UCLA and the NFL’s Rams and Patriots working under luminaries such as Jim Harbaugh, Sean McVay and Bill Belichick before getting his opportunity with Arizona. He is 16-21 in his three seasons with the Wildcats.
Fisch, 47, will be the fourth head coach at Washington since the 2019 season. Chris Petersen stepped away from coaching following the 2019 season. His former defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake lasted nearly two seasons but was fired with two games left in 2021, leading to the hiring of DeBoer.
Landing Fisch concludes a tumultuous week for Washington.
The Huskies were beaten by Michigan 34-13 in the national championship game last Monday, the first of a series of losses in a five-day span. A significant number of key contributors from that 14-1 team declared for the NFL draft, including a few players that were thought to be considering a return for 2024.
BREAKING: Alabama hires Washington’s Kalen DeBoer to replace Nick Saban
But the big blow came Friday when DeBoer left after two seasons and 25 victories to take over at Alabama following the retirement of Nick Saban. Washington fans thought they were getting long-term stability when DeBoer was hired, but the success over his two seasons raised his profile enough to make the short list for the Crimson Tide job when Saban stepped away.
Fisch will face the first task of trying to stabilize any additional roster defections and put together a roster that’ll face bigger challenges moving into the Big Ten next season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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