Well, yesterday was supposed to be a light day in terms of football coverage and that all changed with the 11 a.m. email we received from the University of Washington informing us of the firing of Nick Holt, Mike Cox and Jeff Mills.
After the Alamo Bowl loss, Sarkisian was adamant to the point of anger that he would evaluate the performance of his defensive staff along with all other facets of the team before making a decision.
Apparently, that evaluation period was less than 48 hours.
For three straight seasons, Sarkisian’s paid coaching staff had remained intact with no departures or dismissals. It was something he prided himself upon. However, that changed shortly before the Alamo Bowl when cornerbacks coach and top Los Angeles recruiter Demetrice Martin left for a similar position with UCLA. Now with the firings of Holt, Mills and Cox, it leaves just line coach Johnny Nansen from the defensive staff.
The three coaches were under contract for 2012, thanks to Sarkisian, who helped get them contract extensions and pay increases. As part of those contracts, all three will receive their 2012 salary in a lump sum within 30 days.
Holt, who was third-highest paid state employee behind Sarkisian and Lorenzo Romar, will receive $650,004. Cox will get $220,008 and Mills will receive $155,000.
The sum is more than $1 million, however the money Washington received from the recent Pacific-12 Conference television deal makes swallowing the deal easier. It also gives athletic director Scott Woodward the leverage to spend more on replacing the coaches.
When Sarkisian was hired in December 2008, he considered Holt one of his most important hires. The two worked together at USC, and it was considered a major coup to lure Holt away from a Trojans squad that was loaded with talent. Initially, Holt turned down the job, but Sarkisian got him to reconsider. Of course, making him the highest paid coordinator in the conference helped.
Holt arrived at Washington and wowed fans and alums with his close-shaved head, a professional wrestler’s mentality and a voice that sounded like he had gargled with sand and rocks. But the cartoonish figure and his animated antics on the sideline soon wore thin on Huskies fans as his defenses struggled on the field.
NICK HOLT: Hi, guys. It’s good to be here. I’m going to introduce our players from my left to right. Starting off with our starting strong safety, a sophomore out of Los Angeles, California, Sean Parker; the next young man from Tacoma, Washington, starting corner, junior, Desmond Trufant; myself, Nick Holt; and then to my right, senior, also from Seattle, Washington, starting defensive end, Everrette Thompson, has been a four‑year starter for us; next young man, also from
Not a ton of interesting stuff on there. But Holt did say that defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu injured his ankle against USC and then retweaked again at practice. Couple that with a dislocated thumb that Ta’amu suffered a few weeks ago and he’s pretty beat up. But Holt said he was pretty certain that Ta’amu would be ready to play on Saturday.
Because of deadline issues, I wasn’t able to wait out defensive coordinator Nick Holt. But I was able to get a transcript of it from Condotta. Holt had family obligations so he really only took one question before leaving, obviously it was about his defense’s struggles against the run.
“They just they got into extra offensive linemen and just kept grinding away and at times we played it correctly and then they popped a bunch of them. And they just kept with it and we couldn’t knock them out of it and then early in the game third downs we