UW's Acting AD Responds To Recent Articles
Jan. 30, 2008
By Scott Woodward
Acting Director of Athletics
Over the last several days, the Seattle Times has published a series of articles focusing on various off-the-field issues that surrounded the 2000-01 University of Washington football team. That year the Huskies, under head coach Rick Neuheisel, won the Pac-10 championship, ranked as high as third in the final national polls and defeated Purdue in the Rose Bowl.
The series brings to light some of the complexities of running a major college athletics program that has historically set high standards for competitive excellence. Taken at face value, the facts contained in the articles present a disturbing pattern of events and a culture that did not adequately deal with disciplinary issues.
In the summer of 2004, the UW Board of Regents appointed then-Louisiana State University chancellor Mark Emmert as the university's new president. Shortly thereafter, Emmert hired Todd Turner as the director of intercollegiate athletics, and six months later Tyrone Willingham came on board as the Huskies' head football coach.
Those three key appointments served as a clear and unmistakable response by the UW to the issues that have been documented in great detail by the Times articles.
From day one under Coach Willingham, the Washington football program has delivered a consistent message. It is a program that embodies the highest degree of integrity, a dedication to character and honesty, and an unquestioned concern for every student-athlete. Coach Willingham should be commended for his devotion to the development of the young men that have been entrusted to his care.
With a football program that counts more than 100 college-age young men, there will be mistakes in judgment from time to time. That fact is unavoidable. However, we are confident that strong leadership from all our coaches and staff provide the best possible opportunity for our student-athletes to grow and mature within our expected high standards.
As we are in all other facets of the University, we are committed to maintaining an athletics program that its fans, alumni and followers trust is operating with the highest degrees of integrity, honesty and ethics.