Five games into his University of Washington coaching career, Jimmy Lake experienced a huge embarrassment.
It still seems really weird to say or write it: Montana 13, Huskies 7.
Lake has been pilloried by the fans, especially those who didn't like him in the first place.
You don't lose to an FCS school and not pay a stiff price in public blowback.
Game No. 5 in his time in Montlake was a huge setback for Lake in trying to establish his program and build trust with the program followers, his current players and targeted recruits. It dropped his record to 3-2 over two seasons. He is at Michigan today, trying to right the ship.
That said, we felt it was worth a look at what his Husky predecessors did through five games while occupying that coaching hot seat.
If the legend was still with us, Don James might tell Lake that he got off easy. James lost his fifth Husky game 52-0 to Alabama on a blistering hot day in the South in 1975. He began sleeping in his office the next week to try and change things up.
Of the past 12 UW coaches, nine of them lost that fifth game, none worse than James by margin, none to a supposedly less worthy opponent than Lake.
Only half of them had winning records with the Huskies to that early milestone.
Over the past seven decades, here's a quick review of the UW coaches and their five-game progress:
Stayin' Alive After Game 5
Howie Odell — 1948, lost to California 21-0, for a 1-3-1 record.
John Cherberg — 1953, beat Oregon 14-6, to improve to 2-2-1.
Darrell Royal — 1956, lost to USC 35-7, to fall to 3-2.
Jim Owens — 1957, lost to Stanford 21-14. to fall to 0-4-1.
Don James — 1975, lost to Alabama 52-0, to fall to 2-3.
Jim Lambright — 1993, beat California 24-23, to improve to 4-1.
Rick Neuheisel — 1999, beat Oregon State 47-21, to improve to 3-2.
Keith Gilbertson — 2003, lost to UCLA 46-16, to fall to 3-2.
Ty Willingham — 2005, lost to UCLA 21-17, to fall to 1-4.
Steve Sarkisian — 2009, lost to Notre Dame 30-27 in OT, to fall to 2-3.
Chris Petersen — 2014, lost to Stanford 20-13, to fall to 4-1.
Jimmy Lake — 2021, lost Montana 13-7, to fall to 3-2.
Since you asked, Game No. 6 for these coaches was even worse. Seven out of 11 of Lake's predecessors came up losers.
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