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Washington Head Coach Jedd Fisch, The Future on Montlake

Washington has found its next head coach in Jedd Fisch. Here's how the hiring went down and what to expect going forward on Montlake.

Jedd Fisch is the new head coach of Washington Husky football. The reports of his acceptance of the job came just six days after Washington competed in the National Championship Game. That game feels like a year ago. Since then, Kalen DeBoer left to take the head coaching job at Alabama, more than a dozen Washington players entered the transfer portal, and the Huskies were in the midst of a coaching search. 

How it Went Down

Following DeBoer’s exit, Washington Athletic Director Troy Dannen immediately began targeting a new head coach. Reports included several names, but the Huskies narrowed in on two head coaches. Lance Leipold of Kansas, and Fisch of Arizona. 

According to reports, Fisch was the only head coach on Washington’s list to earn a second interview following the initial phone calls. Fisch was then rumored to be the top target for the Huskies. Leipold took to social media that same afternoon with a hype post about his team for the 2024 year ahead. That crossed the Jayhawks’ head coach off the list. Out of Arizona, we then heard that Fisch had begun to let Arizona officials know he would be taking the Washington job. Fisch held a team meeting in Tucson on Sunday evening, and then he got on a flight to Seattle that night.

Who is Jedd Fisch

Fisch is one of the few coaches in college football who did not play football at a high school, collegiate, or professional level. He spent time as a graduate assistant under Steve Spurrier at Florida from 1999 to 2000. Fisch then bounced around coaching in the NFL for five teams between 2002 and 2010. Over the next six years, he was the offensive coordinator for the Miami Hurricanes, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the quarterbacks’ coach for the Michigan Wolverines. Fisch then spent 2017 at UCLA where he became the team’s interim head coach following Jim Mora’s firing. Many pushed for his hiring as the full-time head coach following that season. Instead, he went back to the NFL for three years before Arizona came calling.

In 2021, Arizona had just fired Kevin Sumlin who had an abysmal 31% winning percentage in Tucson from 2018 to 2020. The program was at the bottom of the Pac-12 Conference and needed change. Fisch was hired in 2021, and he finished 1-11 that year. But things were quickly pointed in the right direction under Fisch. In 2022, Arizona finished with a respectable 5-7 record that included wins over North Dakota State and ninth-ranked UCLA. In 2023, Arizona became one of the hottest teams in the Pac-12, winning the final seven games on its schedule. That streak included five ranked wins, and the Wildcats completed the year with a 10-3 record. Fisch and his team capped it off with an Alamo Bowl victory over Oklahoma. In just three seasons, Fisch resurrected the Arizona football program. He improved from 1-11 to 10-3 in that span.

Jedd Fisch at Washington

Washington’s new head football coach has Seattle ties. Fisch was the quarterbacks’ coach for the Seattle Seahawks in 2010, and his offensive coordinator at Arizona was Brennan Carroll, the son of former Seahawk head coach Pete Carroll. Fisch also brings a bit of Big Ten experience to Seattle. He was the offensive coordinator for Minnesota in 2009. From 2015 to 2016, Fisch was the quarterbacks’ coach and passing game coordinator for Michigan under Jim Harbaugh.

Fisch is also one of the innovative offensive football minds in the sport. Last season, Arizona’s offense finished 20th nationally, averaging 448 yards per game. On a per-play basis, Fisch’s offense averaged just over six-and-a-half yards per play, good for 11th nationally. It’s a slightly different scheme on offense compared to what Washington ran under its former staff, but it is built to produce the same results Husky fans saw last season: yards, points, and wins. 

Jedd Fisch’s Financials and Future at Washington

Washington’s buyout for Fisch at Arizona is $5.5 million. That amount is easily covered by the $12 million buyout that Alabama paid Washington to poach DeBoer. This gave the Washington athletic department room to work on an “impossible-to-turn-down” offer for Fisch. His deal with Washington is for seven years at an average of $7.75 million per year. This deal is more than double the $3 million he was scheduled to earn in 2024 at Arizona. 

The new head coach at Washington is decided, the finances are in order, and now it’s time to work. Players on the Arizona roster now have 30 days to enter the transfer portal if they choose to do so. Some names to keep an eye on to follow Fisch are quarterback Noah Fifita and wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan. The two played high school football together and were responsible for a large portion of Arizona’s offensive production last year. They were members of the 2022 class in Tucson and much of their development occurred under Fisch at Arizona. Also, keep an eye on linebacker Jacob Manu who earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors last season. He was another member of that 2022 class. A whirlwind of a week is wrapping up in Seattle. With the major puzzle piece in place, the build towards the 2024 season is underway.

 

Photo courtesy: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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