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Top Dawgs

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Sports & Recreation

After an 8-4 bowl-bound season, Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian packed his bags.  He’s left the University of Washington football program after five years to return to USC where he previously worked as an assistant coach.  He didn’t even wait to find out which bowl game the Huskies would be playing.  Tally his five seasons at UW and you’ll find 34 wins, 29 losses, three postseason appearances, and one bowl win.  The 2013 Apple Cup win over the Cougars earned him the last  win he needed to rise on the all-time Husky win list (below) over Coach Rick Neuheisel who reached 33 wins in only 4 seasons about a decade ago.

The Huskies have played under 27 head coaches since their first games in 1892.  There may be no argument who among them was the most successful.  The late Don James trotted onto the filed at Husky Stadium 18 seasons and won almost three out of every four games.  The “Dawgfather” also had ten bowl game victories, one national championship, and a trophy case full of coaching awards.  His nearest rival might be Gil Dobie who coached nine undefeated seasons (and whom we featured in A Gloomy Success).  Yes, that really is a zero in his loss column!  John Cherberg, a beloved but not-so-successful coach, converted his popularity into a political career.  He served as lieutenant governor for the next three decades, 1957-1989!

Now that Sarkisian has coached his last Husky game, we wanted to see how he ranked on the all-time list.  He’s 7th in wins, and 15th in winning percentage.  Sarkaisian fared better than his two immediate predessors, Keith Gilbertson and Tyrone Willingham.  They were two of only eight UW coaches with losing records.

UW HUSKY FOOTBALL HEAD COACHES, IN ORDER OF MOST WINS

Rank Coach Year(s) Wins Losses Ties Percentage
 1  Don James  1975–1992  153  57  2  .726
 2  Jim Owens  1957–1974  99  82  6  .545
 3  James Phelan  1930–1941  65  37  8  .627
 4  Enoch Bagshaw  1921–1929  63  22  6  .725
 5  Gil Dobie  1908–1916  58  0  3  .975
 6  Jim Lambright  1993–1998  44  25  1  .636
 7  Steve Sarkisian  2009–2013  34  29  0  .540
 8  Rick Neuheisel  1999–2002  33  16  0  .673
 9  Ralph Welch  1942–1947  27  20  3  .570
 10  Howard Odell  1948–1952  23  25  2  .480
 11  James Knight  1902–1904  15  4  1  .775
 12  Tyrone Willingham  2005–2008  11  37  0  .229
 13  John Cherberg  1953–1955  10  18  2  .367
 14  Victor M. Place  1906–1907  8  5  6  .579
 15  Ralph Nichols  1895–1896, 1898  7  4  1  .625
 16  Keith Gilbertson  2003–2004  7  16  0  .304
 17  Claude J. Hunt  1917, 1919  6  3  1  .650
 18  Oliver Cutts  1905  5  2  2  .667
 19  Darrell Royal  1956  5  5  0  .500
 20  A. S. Jeffs  1899  4  1  1  .750
 21  Jack Wright  1901  3  3  0  .500
 22  W. B. Goodwin  1892–1893  2  4  1  .357
 23  Charles Cobb  1894  1  1  1  .500
 24  Tony Savage  1918  1  1  0  .500
 25  J. S. Dodge  1900  1  2  2  .400
 26  Carl L. Clemans  1897  1  2  0  .333
 27  Stub Allison  1920  1  5  0  .167

PHOTO of Steve Sarkisian by Bryan Veloso.

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