Chris Petersen Steps Down, Defensive Coordinator Jimmy Lake Named New Washington Head Coach

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Washington coach Chris Petersen steps down

Washington head football coach Chris Petersen announced that he will be stepping down as head coach following the Huskies' upcoming bowl game, the university announced in a release. Defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake will be promoted as the new head coach as Petersen transitions into a leadership advisory role for Washington's athletic department.

"It has been a privilege and a professional dream fulfilled to be part of this world-class institution," Petersen said in a release. "I will forever be grateful, honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to coach our fine young men on Montlake for these past six seasons. I thank each of them, as well as our coaches and administrative staff for the incredible commitment they've made to Husky football during my tenure. The football program and Husky Athletics across the board will continue to prosper – and do it the right way—with Jen Cohen's leadership and the University administration's commitment to excellence. I'll be a Husky for life, but now is the right time for me to step away from my head coaching duties, and recharge."

A source closed to Petersen told Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel that there is "no illness or ulterior motive" to the coach's decision.

The 55-year-old Petersen finishes with a 54–26 record and two Pac-12 championships in his six years at Washington. He has just one bowl game victory in his tenure with the 2015 Heart of Dallas Bowl win. The Huskies reached the 2016 Peach Bowl, 2017 Fiesta Bowl and 2018 Rose Bowl but lost all three. 

Lake has passed on several head coaching opportunities and previously served as an assistant under Keith Gilbertson at Washington in 2004 and then re-joined the team as a defensive backs coach in 2014 under Petersen. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2018.

"I could not be more excited about taking over as head football coach at the University of Washington," Lake said in the release. "I've been dreaming of this opportunity for as long as I can remember and I can't think of a better place to do it than in the world-class city of Seattle and at such a prestigious university with a rich football tradition. This wouldn't be possible without the mentorship of Coach Petersen and I would like to thank him for everything he has done for me, as well as Jen Cohen for entrusting me with this opportunity."