Washington Hires Tyrone Willingham

Willingham is Washington’s choice for job (ESPN)

Tyrone Willingham has agreed to become Washington’s third head coach in four seasons, the University of Washington confirmed Sunday. “I can confirm that Tyrone Willingham has accepted the head coaching position at Washington,” UW athletic department spokesman Jim Daves said in an e-mail statement Sunday afternoon. Fired from Notre Dame two weeks ago, Willingham will be introduced as the new Huskies football coach at a press conference Monday morning with UW President Mark Emmert and Athletic Director Todd Turner.

The decision makes Washington the only Division I-A school with black head coaches in the two major sports. Men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romar is in his third season leading the Huskies.

Willingham was 21-15 in three seasons at Notre Dame, but his Nov. 30 firing was controversial. He had the shortest non-interim tenure of any Fighting Irish coach in 70 years, raising questions about whether he was given enough time to succeed.

While I thought Willingham’s firing at Notre Dame was unjustified, I’m a bit surprised that he got snapped up so quickly by a major program. Willingham is a class act, but he has no history of success at a big time program.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. After Neuheisel, I think they need a “class act” for a while.

  2. Jeff Quinton says:

    Rumor has it UW had contacted ND for permission to talk to him before he got fired.

  3. BigFire says:

    In other news, USC gets to keep their Offensive Coordinator for yet another years. Stanford decided they don’t want the service of Norm Chow, and went with someone they knew.

    Just what does Chow need to do to land a head coach job? He’s only produced 3 Heisman winning quarterback in the last 6 years. He’s turned a run-oriented USC into the next BYU.

  4. Zennie says:


    I disagree that Tyrone Willingham has no history of success at a big time program. He coached at Stanford and then Notre Dame and did post not only winning records but lead the Cardinal to a Rose Bowl appearance. He has coached in five bowl games.

    What no press person or TV pundit has pointed out, is that Coach W will not be hampered by the academic recruiting problems he had at ND and at Stanford.

    Plus, Regie Bush came very close to going to Notre Dame and not USC because Coach W is black. Bush said — on the Best Damn Sports Show — that he wanted to play for a black coach.

    There are a LOT of talented black high school football players who will flock to Washington because Coach W is there. I think — in three years — they will be competing for the national championship.

  5. Kevin says:

    COach W is still a mystery to me. His ND teams would play great and p[assionat e ball at times (2004-Michigan game, 2004-Tennesse game, first 8 games of 2002).
    Then they would go to sleep at times (see 2003 season ending game against Syracuse for a classic example).
    Boy, when the Irish were on…they were on. And when they slept…..well………