Tuiasosopo in charge of UW in bowl

christian.caple@thenewstribune.comDecember 5, 2013 

The University of Washington’s football coaching search remains in progress, though the Huskies at least know who will coach their bowl game. And it’s a familiar name.

Marques Tuiasosopo, a star quarterback for the Huskies from 1997-2000 who was in his first year of coaching quarterbacks for the Huskies, was announced Wednesday as interim head coach for UW’s to-be-determined bowl game.

Tuiasosopo, 34, has never been a head coach, and has been a true assistant for only two seasons. He coached tight ends at UCLA in 2012 after serving there as a graduate assistant in 2011, and he was a strength and conditioning assistant under Steve Sarkisian at UW in 2009-10.

Sarkisian left Washington on Monday to accept the head coaching job at USC.

Tuiasosopo met Wednesday

with athletic director Scott Woodward, the school announced, and it was determined that Tuiasosopo would lead the team in the bowl game. Players were informed of the decision during a team meeting inside Husky Stadium.

“I’m humbled and so honored,” Tuiasosopo said in a statement released by the school. “It’s a great, incredible honor to lead my alma mater in a bowl game. We still have a lot to play for this season. I am excited to go out and get a ninth win.”

While Tuiasosopo remains on staff for at least the next few weeks, the fate of UW’s other assistant coaches is less clear.

Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News reported Wednesday that Justin Wilcox, UW’s defensive coordinator, was also set to interview with Woodward. But some have speculated that Tuiasosopo being named interim coach means that Wilcox might not be around.

It has been reported that Sarkisian would like to take Wilcox with him to USC, though Wolf also reported that USC isn’t thrilled about the idea of paying the $1 million buyout Wilcox would owe UW for leaving for a non-head-coaching job at another Pac-12 Conference school. That is stipulated in Wilcox’s contract, which is a three-year agreement that was signed on Jan. 2, 2012, and expires Dec. 31, 2014.

Wolf’s report indicated that USC would be more willing to pay the buyout for Tosh Lupoi, the Huskies’ defensive line coach, whose contract stipulates that if he leaves for a non-defensive coordinator or head coach job before the end of his deal, he owes UW the equivalent of any remaining salary he is due. Lupoi’s contract will expire until Feb. 6, 2015, and he is paid an annual salary of $350,000, meaning his buyout figure would be slightly higher than that.

If he leaves voluntarily for another job before the end of his contract, Lupoi also forfeits a $100,000 bonus.

Neither Woodward, nor any UW official, is commenting on the coaching search until its completion.

Washington’s official bowl-game invitation will likely come Sunday, though the Huskies’ most likely destination is the Dec. 27 Fight Hunger Bowl, to be played at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

christian.caple@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @ChristianCaple

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