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Ex-Husky Ray Horton Wants to be Considered for UW Coaching Vacancy

The former cornerback has an impressive football resume, which includes five Super Bowls.
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Ray Horton, an NFL presence longer than anyone who has emerged from the University of Washington football program, is now more than willing to return to the college game.

He wants to be the next Husky football coach.

Horton, 61, has gone through back channels and requested an interview as the UW seeks a replacement for the fired Jimmy Lake, but this former All-Pac-10 cornerback, feared punt returner and two-time Rose Bowl participant hasn't heard back from the athletic department.

Always a competitor, he's not shy about publicly stating his interest for the job.

"I think I have credibility, I think I have name appeal, experience," Horton said. "For me, the biggest thing is I went there and I desire to be there to help restore glory."

The Tacoma native possesses 36 years of NFL experience, 26 as an assistant coach for seven different franchises, rising as high as defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns (twice) and the Tennessee Titans.

In 2013, Horton came in second to Bruce Arians to become head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. Both were attempting to move up from coordinator roles. Arians, of course, is the reigning Super Bowl coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

All of this comes after Horton spent 10 years in the league as a playmaking defensive back for the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys, intercepting 19 passes, recovering 11 fumbles and scoring 5 times off defensive turnovers. A versatile defender, he played cornerback, nickelback and safety in the pros.

As a coach and a player, he went to five Super Bowls and won three of them.

An Arizona resident, Horton watched Friday's Apple Cup and the Huskies' 40-13 loss to Washington State from afar. He thinks the program has been mismanaged and needs to become much more physical, areas he would focus on if put in charge.

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A licensed pilot for a decade, he equates coaching to flying an aircraft. It's up to the person behind the controls to take full responsibility for all of the minute details and make sure the people on board safely reach their destination.  

"I don't think I've ever been as nervous and proud as when I took my first solo [flight]," said Horton, who owns a Cirrus SR20. "There's nobody on the plane with you except you. You talk about responsibility. I still take the same responsibility when I fly with someone — their life is in my hands."

Horton was a three-year starter for legendary Husky coach Don James, starting 30 games for him in 1980 to 1982. As a junior, he was named as a first-team All-Pac-10 selection and earned AP All-America honorable-mention honors at cornerback after coming up with an incredible 14 pass deflections. As a sophomore, he returned a punt 73 yards for a touchdown against USC. 

In the 1982 Rose Bowl, which the Huskies won 28-0 over Iowa, Horton ironically found himself on opposite sides with Hawkeyes safety Bob Stoops, who later became a highly successful Oklahoma coach. Stoops, 61, recently has been linked to the Husky job whether or not he's actually interested. 

Horton left the NFL in 2019, last coaching the secondary for the Washington Football Club in the nation's capitol and seeking a break. He's willing to return to football if he could can the Huskies. 

Previously, he was brought into LSU to tutor the defensive coaches by then-defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, now the successful Baylor coach. Aranda recently has showed up on everyone's coaching wish lists where there's an opening, including the UW. 

Horton has the passion to come home and restore the Husky program. He has the football connections to build a comprehensive coaching staff. He thinks his extensive NFL resume would resonate with potential recruits, because he's been where they want to go.  

"It's not a prerequisite that you've played, but, I'll tell what, the players like it when you've played," Horton said. "When you can say, 'I've been there and done that,' that carries a ton of weight."

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