Skip to main content

DeBoer Says He's All About 'Attacking and Explosion' as Offensive Coach

The UW introduces the former Fresno State leader to staff, fans and media.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

On a sullen, gray day in Seattle, a deeply tanned Kalen DeBoer introduced himself as the new University of Washington football coach, taking two hours on Tuesday to explain what he's all about to curious fans, athletic department officials and media members. 

Someone should have informed him the weather tends to improve here, but that tan of his soon will be history.

After a frenzied hiring, DeBoer stood in front of everyone as the 30th Husky football coach, a moment signified by him and athletic director Jen Cohen holding up a keepsake purple jersey that carried that number.

Inside the coaching building that juts into the west end of Husky Stadium, the former Fresno State coach said all the right things as people want to forget the horrors of a 4-8 Husky football team that struggled mightily to gain yards and put up points, a shortcoming that inevitably cost other coaches their jobs. 

"I'm an offensive guy," DeBoer said, drawing his best crowd response. "Attacking and explosion is what I'd like to think we're going to be, both sides of the ball, especially offensively." 

The UW revealed that it will pay DeBoer $19.5 million over 5 years, with yearly salaries ranging from $3.1 million to $3.5 million, which was similar to the compensation for Jimmy Lake, his predecessor. The school will pay a $1.5 million contract buyout to Fresno State, plus other coaching incentives to him based championships and overall success. 

Kalen DeBoer becomes the 30th Husky football coach.

Kalen DeBoer became the UW's 30th football coach.

Someone asked DeBoer if former Husky quarterback Jake Haener, a 3,810-yard passer this season at Fresno State, would consider returning to Seattle for his final year of college eligibility, and the coach seemed to dismiss that idea.

"I want what's best for Jake," the coach said. "That's up to him. There's other directions he could take his career, as well, so he's got to figure that out."

DeBoer didn't say it, but his answer seemed to suggest that Haener, whose Fresno State season won't end until he's played in a bowl game, might be weighing NFL options.

Read More

DeBoer also said he hasn't firmed up his coaching staff, but he expected the hirings to come fairly soon. Indications out of Fresno are that he'll make Bulldogs offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb part of his new staff. They've worked together for more than a decade at NAIA Sioux Falls, Eastern Michigan and Fresno State. 

While outsiders were promoting DeBoer's candidacy to multiple schools, the coach said he was focused only on the Bulldogs' game at San Jose State on Thanksgiving Day, a 40-9 victory on the road, and then on Friday's San Diego State-Boise State game, which had division championship implications for Fresno State that didn't pan out.

"Everywhere I've been, I work my job," he said. 

Kalen DeBoer does a Q13 interview in his new place of work.

Kalen DeBoer spent two hours answering questions as the new UW coach. 

UW discussions with athletic director Jen Cohen began earnestly on the weekend and lasted until he signed an agreement in his kitchen at home on Monday. He met with Fresno State players at 2:30 p.m., then boarded a private jet with his wife and two daughters and they traveled to Seattle. 

DeBoer said he called former Husky coach Chris Petersen to discuss the job, noting that they both came from the Mountain West Conference. Staying low key in the back, Petersen was among those who came to the new coach's introductory session.

DeBoer met with UW players on Monday night and again on Tuesday morning as he takes the ground running, with recruiting needs coming up fast, as well. Besides his reemphasizing his all-out offensive approach to them, the coach imparted another message to the Huskies.

"I don't want guys, if you have one year left, thinking this is a rebuild," DeBoer said. "This is reloading."

Go to si.com/college/washington to read the latest Husky Maven stories as soon as they’re published. Not all stories are posted on the fan sites.

Find Husky Maven on Facebook by searching: Husky Maven/Sports Illustrated

Follow Dan Raley of Husky Maven on Twitter: @DanRaley1 and @HuskyMaven