Huskies' Gilbertson to resign at season's end
Posted: Monday November 1, 2004 1:59PM; Updated: Monday November 1, 2004 6:08PM
SEATTLE (AP) -- Washington coach Keith Gilbertson, whose Huskies are suffering their worst season in 35 years, will resign at the end of the season, the university announced Monday.
Athletic director Todd Turner said Gilberton will step down following the team's final game at Washington State on Nov. 20.
"Coach Gilbertson and I have talked for several weeks about the football program and we mutually agreed that it needs an immediate boost," Turner said in a statement released Monday afternoon. "Keith will finish this season as our head coach and has agreed to assist me beyond that time to develop a strategy for reinvestment by our university in its football program."
Turner said the search for Gilbertson's successor would begin immediately.
Gilbertson said he was disappointed in his record and wished the program success.
"I want to see this program succeed and get rolling again. Whatever I can do to help, I'll do," he said. "Sure I wish we had been more successful and won more games. But there was never a day I didn't enjoy coaching over the past two years.
The Huskies lost 31-6 at Oregon on Saturday, dropping to 1-7 overall and 0-5 in the Pac-10.
The 56-year-old Gilbertson, a native of Snohomish, Wash., is 7-13 in his second season at Washington and 55-48 overall in nine seasons, including jobs at Idaho (1986-88) and California (1992-95).
Washington faces Arizona on Saturday and No. 4 California in Seattle on Nov. 13, with both games in Seattle.
"Keith came into a difficult situation and worked hard to turn the program around, but obviously things went in a different direction," said Mark Emmert, university president. "His relationship to this institution goes back many years and includes the glory days of Washington football. We are grateful for his years of service."
Gilbertson took over the Huskies six weeks before the start of fall camp in 2003 amid difficult circumstances.
Former coach Rick Neuheisel was fired in July 2003 for gambling on NCAA basketball, leaving then-athletic director Barbara Hedges little time or options for filling the job.
Hedges said at the time that Gilbertson was chosen because he was the only member of the staff with head coaching experience.
The Huskies went 6-6 overall in and 4-4 in the Pac-10 in Gilbertson's first season, barely avoiding the school's first losing season since 1976. Washington lost at home to Nevada and was blown out by California and UCLA.
The only win this season was in a nonconference game against San Jose State. The last time the Huskies went without a league victory was 1973, when they were 0-7 in the old Pac-8.
This year's squad was hit hard by injuries, and the team's struggles on offense have been frustrating for Gilbertson, the offensive coordinator under Neuheisel and under Don James on Washington's 1991 title team.
Only four years ago, the Huskies were 11-1 and beat Purdue in their Rose Bowl appearance since 1992.