From head coach Steve Sarkisian to volunteer assistant Marques Tuiasosopo, it’s hard not to like the coaching staff of the University of Washington football team.
A group of passionate, excited young teachers that, in many cases, look like they could still take the field themselves are the men in charge of guiding the current roster of Husky players.
Not one year ago, it was an entirely different group that patrolled the Washington sideline on gameday. Led by Tyrone Willingham, the 2008 Husky coaching staff was older, more reserved, and lacking the spark that fades with age and losing. The dispassion exuded by those coaches spawned an atmosphere of gloom and doom on Montlake that seemingly could not be lifted.
But less than 365 days later, the clouds have parted and sunshine is breaking through on the shores of Lake Washington once again. The new regime that runs, jumps, and chest bumps along the north end of Husky Stadium has done the near-unthinkable, transforming all the negative energy to positive in less than a calendar year.
Last Saturday, the change in attitude was evident even before kickoff.
Fans who found their seats early were greeted by a video board message introducing every one of Coach Sarkisian’s assistants personally. Members of the fun-loving staff even went the extra mile by adding goofy quips to the end of their basic info.
The preparation and attention to detail by that very same staff became evident in the ensuing minutes and hours that followed.
From the organization of player warmups, to a smoke machine (a transplant from USC, no doubt) that blasted as players ran onto the field, to the infusion of upbeat music during timeouts, to the arm-waving conducting of the fan base, to the incorporation of inspiring messages and words of excitement on the video board as the game transpired, the coaches had every base covered on their way to hitting a home run on day one.
In a fragment of a single day, the new coaching staff was able to engage the fan base, recruit prospective student-athletes, and manage a ballgame all at the same time. The old coaching staff was barely able to do just one of those things.
Only a victory on the scoreboard could have made these coaching achievements any better, yet there’s no doubting that wins will come with time.
A year ago at this precise moment, we were lamenting an 0-2 start to the season that brought us losses against Oregon and BYU.
These days, Husky fans are preparing to celebrate their first victory in nearly two years.
From A (atmosphere and attitude) to Z (zeal and zest), the UW football program is looking better than it has in years. And in the words of defensive coordinator Nick Holt, that’s just awesome.