SEATTLE — Washington on Monday suspended head coach Jimmy Lake for one game without pay following a sideline incident during the Huskies’ game against Oregon.
Lake is suspended from all team activities for the week and will return to his coaching responsibilities on Sunday. Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory will serve as the interim coach for Saturday’s game against Arizona State.
Lake appeared to thrust his right arm toward and then shoved Ruperake Fuavai during a brief skirmish on the Washington sideline in Saturday’s 26-16 loss to Oregon. Fuavai appeared to be exchanging words with Oregon’s Jaylon Redd just before the incident with Lake.
“Our staff has spent the last 24-plus hours reviewing video of the incident, as well as speaking with coach Lake, the involved student-athlete and several other student-athletes and members of the staff, and I have made the decision to suspend Coach Lake for next Saturday’s game against Arizona State,” Washington athletic director Jen Cohen said in a statement.
Cohen added that she does not believe Lake’s actions were intentional, but “we can have no tolerance for a coach interacting with a student in the manner coach Lake did.”
“We have high expectations of conduct for our coaches, and we will not shy away from those expectations,” Cohen said.
Lake said after Saturday’s game that he did not hit Fuavai and was trying to get him away from Redd before it could become a penalty.
“I separated him. I did not strike him. I separated him,” Lake said.
The suspension capped arguably the lowest week of Lake’s tenure as Washington’s coach with the discontent among fans and alumni rapidly growing. Lake started last week by taking a verbal shot at the academics of Oregon when talking about recruiting.
Then came the sideline incident and another lackluster offensive performance by the Huskies in losing to the Ducks at home for the seventh time in the past eight meetings in Seattle.
Lake fired offensive coordinator John Donovan on Sunday with the Huskies ranking in the bottom third nationally in most offensive categories. Washington is 109th in scoring offense and 112th in total offense.
Wide receivers coach Junior Adams will replace Donovan as Washington’s play caller for the rest of the season.
Washington (4-5) must win two of its final three games to become bowl eligible.
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