Washington coaching search: Joe Moorhead, Jay Norvell among top candidates to replace Jimmy Lake

That escalated quickly, didn’t it? Washington coach Jimmy Lake went from winning the Pac-12 North in 2020 (playing only four games) to being out of a job less than a year later.

Lake served a one-game suspension after laying hands on a player last week. Athletic director Jen Cohen then pulled the trigger Sunday.

Washington is among college football’s biggest of sleeping giants with budgetary resources and a base willing to spend to win again. Patriarch coach Don James won a split national championship in 1991.  

UW is a living example of Pac-12 frustration. It is the last Pac-12 team to appear in the College Football Playoff. Since that appearance in 2016, the Huskies are 35-19, having lost Chris Petersen and basically their way.

It’s doubtful the retired Petersen is interested in recreating what he built at Montlake in six seasons. As such, these are the top coaching candidates to fill the vacancy at Washington.

Joe Moorhead, Oregon offensive coordinator: This isn’t Alabama hiring Auburn’s offensive coordinator. The Oregon-Washington rivalry doesn’t run that deep. This is Washington trying to stabilize himself. Moorhead has put together a Broyles Award-level season guiding the Ducks offense through injuries and his own absence due to major surgery. Moorhead’s calling card is an ability to adjust to the personnel around him. Check out how he has managed quarterback Anthony Brown.

Jay Norvell, Nevada coach: There might be tug of war between Washington and Washington State for Nevada’s coach. I had him on the hot list at Wazzu after the Nick Rolovich firing. Norvell has strong offensive and plenty of experience in the NFL (six years) and Power Five (22 years). The development of QB Carson Strong is a selling point. Lord knows, Washington…

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