According to a report by ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, two Washington Huskies assistant coaches might be considered for the vacant head coaching job at San Jose State.
The report names offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith and defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake -- along with former UW defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox -- as potential candidates to replace former San Jose State coach Ron Caragher, who was fired Sunday after compiling a 19-30 record in four seasons.
Smith and Lake both accompanied coach Chris Petersen to UW when he left Boise State in December 2013. UW’s defensive success the past two seasons has made it increasingly difficult to believe that Lake, who aspires to be a head coach, will remain in his role at Washington much longer. Last offseason, Petersen gave him the title of co-defensive coordinator -- along with a two-year contract extension and a raise of $110,000 per year -- in an effort to keep him at UW. But a guy who wants to be a head coach isn’t going to stay at Washington as a position coach forever, regardless of his salary.
Smith’s contract situation was not as favorable entering the 2016 season. He is the only UW assistant not signed through 2017 -- every other assistant was given a two-year extension at the end of last season -- though the performance of the Huskies’ offense this year will almost certainly earn him an extension, assuming he does not leave for another job.
Since coming to UW, Petersen has lost only one assistant to another school -- former defensive line and special-teams coach Jeff Choate, who departed at the end of last season to take the head coaching job at Montana State. Petersen fired receivers coach Brent Pease last season, too, and replaced him with Bush Hamdan.
Asked Monday about the possibility of assistant coaches leaving for other jobs -- an inevitability for programs that win as often as Washington has won this season -- Petersen said this is the “worst part of the year for me.”
“But my job is to also help guys and their families achieve something they really want and what their goals are all about,” he said. “It’s also to, hopefully, like our players, make good decisions. I see so many coaches run off to other places — it’s not better in the long run. But when it is better, and that’s really their call, then it’s my job to help them do what they need to do.
“As long as they’ve done a great job here -- and I think what’s going on around here speaks for the job that these coaches are doing; they do a tremendous job -- so that’s my responsibility to them, is to help them. But I hope they don’t go.”