With VIPs, Husky Practice Is Place to See and Be Seen

Jedd Fisch welcomes football royalty to Montlake.
Jedd Fisch, right, meets with 49ers line coach Chris Foerster and GM John Lynch.
Jedd Fisch, right, meets with 49ers line coach Chris Foerster and GM John Lynch. / UW

A University of Washington spring football practice is a lot like that once notorious New York nightclub Studio 54. It's a happening place, somewhere to see and be seen.

Every time Jedd Fisch opens the doors to his Montlake gathering place, it seems the beautiful people are mixing with the unwashed.

The new Husky coach promised he would have pro football royalty wandering the halls and sidelines of the UW football facilities -- and three months into his time on the job, he has delivered in a big way.

Over the past week alone, Fisch not only welcomed welcomed Bill Belichick, Jack Del Rio and John Lynch to practice, he had each of these recognizable NFL figures decked out in Husky athletic gear in the chilly environs.

Belichick, the six-time Super Bowl-winning coach for the New England Patriots, attended a pair of practices wearing a UW hat, sweatshirt and sweat pants, as if he was a long-time member of the staff or a well-heeled alum.

He didn't just come for the swag either or to say hello to his son Steve Belichick, Fisch's defensive coordinator.

Jedd Fisch and Bill Belichick eyeball a UW practice.
Jedd Fisch and Bill Belichick eyeball a UW practice. / Dan Raley

The elder Belichick was seen taking notes and chatting up coaches, generously offering his wisdom as Fisch, his former New England quarterback coach, attempts to keep the Husky football program among the nation's elite and highly competitive while entering new membership in the Big Ten Conference.

"It's pretty cool," UW quarterback Will Rogers said of the older Belichick's presence. "Obviously, he's one of if not the greatest coach of all time. He's not out here just standing on the sidelines. He's out here coaching and giving coaching pointers."

Jack Del Rio chats up UW personnel, including running back Cam Davis.
Jack Del Rio chats up UW personnel, including running back Cam Davis. / UW

Del Rio, the former Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders coach, took in a pair of practices himself. He, too, has a son on Fisch's coaching staff, with Luke Del Rio serving as an offensive analyst.

The older Del Rio filled out a black Husky sweatshirt as he chatted up Fisch and Husky players, and wandered through Thursday and Saturday practices.

Finally, Lynch, the San Francisco 49ers general manager, showed up on Saturday to watch practice with his offensive-line coach Chris Foerster in tow, with both of them adorned in black UW sweatshirts.

Lynch's son, Jake, is a defensive graduate assistant for Fisch. It appears this 49ers contingent also had a private workout scheduled with Roger Rosengarten, the former UW offensive tackle preparing for the draft.

This was the practice guest list for last week alone. Who knows who Fisch has coming next to hang out in Montlake.

For the latest UW football and basketball news, go to si.com/college/washington


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Dan Raley

DAN RALEY

Dan Raley has worked for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, as well as for MSN.com and Boeing, the latter as a global aerospace writer. His sportswriting career spans four decades and he's covered University of Washington football and basketball during much of that time. In a working capacity, he's been to the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, the MLB playoffs, the Masters, the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship and countless Final Fours and bowl games.