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Washington football head coach candidates with Kalen DeBoer reportedly leaving

With DeBoer Tuscaloosa bound, we’ll take a look at some names the Huskies should consider as they transition into the Big Ten next year.

Washington State v Washington Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Washington Huskies suffered a disappointing loss to the Michigan Wolverines in the College Football Playoff National Championship earlier in the week and may be taking another blow to the gut soon. Head coach Kalen DeBoer is reportedly in negotiations to become the next head man for the Alabama Crimson Tide, replacing legendary head coach Nick Saban.

This move would suddenly put UW on a search for a new head coach, one who will be tasked with leading the program into its new home in the Big Ten. That new coach will also be tasked with restocking the roster with the likes of Michael Penix Jr., Rome Odunze, and several others from this year’s CFP team moving on to the NFL. Below, we’ll go over a few possible candidates for the Huskies.

Ryan Grubb, Washington offensive coordinator

If UW is looking for continuity, why not just elevate Grubb to head coach? Grubb has followed DeBoer since their days at Sioux Falls and as OC and QB coach, he’s been the mastermind both the offense and Penix’s rise as a Heisman Trophy finalist. The Huskies should seriously consider bumping up Grubb if they want keep the same vibes from the last two years and if they’re going to do it, then they need to act quick. Because DeBoer may very well take the OC with him to Tuscaloosa.

Lance Leipold, Kansas head coach

DeBoer was a guy who proved that he could win at any level of the sport, from establishing an NAIA dynasty at Sioux Falls to being on the doorstep of winning it all at the FBS level. So why not go after someone who has followed a similar path in Leipold. The KU head coach won six DIII national championships at Wisconsin-Whitewater before jumping up to FBS and turning Buffalo into a MAC contender. Of course, he’s pulled off the Herculean task of making Kansas football functional over the past few seasons and that has pushed his name into several coach candidate boards. Winners win and Washington should give him a call.

Justin Wilcox, Cal head coach

Wilcox just wrapped up his seventh season at Cal and was reportedly in the hunt for the job opening at his alma mater Oregon following the 2021 season. Wilcox’s has posted a 36-43 record in Berkeley, which isn’t impressive on first glance until you how difficult it is to build a consistent winner there. The Golden Bears will be entering a weird situation by joining the ACC next season and this may be the perfect time for the Cal coach to get out before having to deal with those headaches. It would make sense for Washington to poach a veteran head coach from a now former Pac-12 rival, especially one who can recruit out west.

Pete Kwiatkowski, Texas defensive coordinator

Chris Petersen led Washington to its last College Football Playoff appearance in 2016 and sitting right there as his defensive coordinator was Kwiatkowski. He produced monster defensive talent during his time at UW, including the likes of Vita Vea and unana=imous All-American Hau’oli Kikaha. Serving as Steve Sarkisian’s DC at Texas, he produced a mean defensive front with Outland Trophy winner T’Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy II helping the Longhorns reach the CFP. He’s definitely a name to consider for athletic director Troy Dannen.