With the promotion of Bob Gregory to defensive coordinator, University of Washington coach Jimmy Lake hired from within the program instead of bringing in an outside candidate.
Gregory is not the flashy hire that creates buzz in the national media.
However, based on his ability to develop players, recruit at a high level and the timing of the vacancy, he was the right person for the job.
Bob Gregory has done well in recruiting, both in spotting talent and landing guys who became high-profile players.
Arguably Gregory's best find in recruiting was 3-star prospect Ben Burr-Kervin.
The linebacker from California had two other Pac-12 offers. Every year in the program, Burr-Kervin improved. He forced his way into the starting lineup. As a senior, he was the leader of the defense, led the nation in tackles and was named first-team All-American and the Pac-12 defensive player of the year, all under the tutelage of Gregory.
Besides finding under-recruited talent, Gregory recently brought in some of the top linebackers on the West Coast. In the 2019 class, he was the lead recruiter in landing Daniel Heimuli and Josh Calvert, both considered to be top fifteen players nationally at the position.
Based on the amount of time between Pete Kwiatkowski leaving for Texas and the elevating of Gregory, Lake reviewed many options before making his decision.
On a recent 4th and Inches podcast, I gave three names of outside candidates who intrigued me and I thought would be fantastic recruiters for the UW: Miami Dolphins' defensive-backs coach Gerald Alexander, Jacksonville Jaguars' defensive-line coach Tosh Lupoi and USC's cornerbacks coach Donte Williams.
All three, of course, previously coached at Washington as regular or graduate assistants.
Lake mentioned in his press conference that he vetted many candidates. Yet the fact remains that as long as Lake is in charge, he'll use the defensive system developed by him and Kwiatkowski for the program.
While the three aforementioned coaches are known for their recruiting pedigree, none understand the defensive system such as Gregory.
The Washington program finds themselves in a unique position. The defense brings back 9 of 11 starters and will likely add some pieces it lacked in 2020, such as Laiatu Latu, and get more out of Tuli Letuligasenoa and Ryan Bowman, who missed time because of injury of COVID-19.
With the players in place to make a serious run this coming season, Lake made the decision to go with the candidate with the best knowledge of his defensive system, one that has been so successful over the years.