A valued leader is gone from the University of Washington – a loss felt by many campus-wide.
Mark A. Emmert, a Fife native, returned to his alma mater with the Huskies in 2004 as the university president.
On Tuesday – two months shy of what would be his six-year anniversary at the UW – he was named the new leader for the NCAA, replacing the late Myles Brand, who died in September.
Emmert has a wealth of administrative experience, both nationally and internationally. He's been a member of local educational boards, but his experience has spanned to committees nationwide as well, including on an NCAA sub-committee focused on fiscal responsibility.
"They're getting a dynamic leader who has done an incredible job every step of the way in his whole career in higher education as a leader and as an administrator," UW athletic director Scott Woodward said. "He will mix things up and he will do things that they will be very happy and proud of for a long time."
The one snarl has been for all UW officials, including Emmert, is securing the necessary funds – private and public – for the Husky Stadium renovation. Woodward was asked does Emmert's void put the university further behind the 8-ball?
"Not one bit," he said.
One of Emmert's key hires is second-year UW football coach Steve Sarkisian.
"You always have a vision of how you want things to get done and to get accomplished, and from President Emmert through Scott Woodward, it's always been about doing things the right way and doing things the way they should get done, but (also) allowing me to do it with the style and the fashion that we want to be able to do it," Sarkisian said. "And I'm very grateful to them for that.
"I think it's obviously a great opportunity for him. And I think the NCAA is getting a good man and a bright guy that is going to lead the NCAA the way we all would hope it would get led."
Isaiah Thomas, the UW basketball star from Curtis High, offered a vote of support through his Twitter account.
"Congrats 2 UW president Mark Emmert for being named President of the NCAA. It was a honor to have a good friendship wit him hes a GREAT dude," Thomas wrote.
Emmert was in Indianapolis on Tuesday for the final interview, and formal introduction as the next NCAA president. He will start at his new post next November.
"This position I find myself in right now is in many ways a natural extension of what I’ve been doing for nearly 30 years now," Emmert said.
Stuff from Tuesday practice:
• Good things about the fifth – and final – week of spring ball, Sarkisian has started to accumulate enough film on his players.
And on Tuesday, not only did he declare safety Will Shamburger the team's "most improved player," he had the redshirt freshman from Compton, Calif. running with the first-string defense at free safety ahead of incumbent Nate Fellner, who has been in and out of action because of injuries.
"We're letting him do both (safety spots) and he's a very bright kid," Sarkisian said. "He's got great physical ability and is a very good athlete. He's just making plays."
• Apparently news doesn't travel fast around the living space of Kavario Middleton, the tight end out of Lakes High.
Last week, Sarkisian was asked about the pecking order at tight end. The coach responded if the season started then, Chris Izbicki would get the nod ahead of Middleton, last season's full-time starter.
On Tuesday, Middleton said he was unaware of Sarkisian's comments.
"I really haven't gotten a feeling anything is going on," the junior-to-be said, adding he and Izbicki have virtually shared all the first-team snaps.
• Pretty much the same infirmary report. Out again where receiver D'Andre Goodwin (hamstring), defensive linemen Everrette Thompson (foot) and Kalani Aldrich (knee) and running back Jesse Callier (knee) and safety Greg Walker (elbow).
Wearing the red jersey, and going through limited drills included running back Chris Polk (shoulder), linebacker Victor Aiyewa (shoulder), offensive lineman Cody Habben (shoulder) and cornerback Desmond Trufant (groin).
Callier has already been ruled out for the Spring Game, and Walker is doubtful.
As for Trufant, the standout from Wilson High, he's trying to find his legs to at least be in contention for playing time at the end of spring.
"Out of shape," he groused.
A new injury occurred Tuesday – this time to receiver Jermaine Kearse, who stayed down after a long pass in the end zone during team drills. He limped off the field. Sarkisian called it a right ankle "tweak" and that he should be OK.
• "Friday Night Lights" fever is starting to build, at least around the team.
The setup will be similar to a game. Quarters will be 15 minutes, but with running clock. Teams will start drives from the 20-yard-line after scores. On change of possession on non-scoring drives, the line of scrimmage will be determined by an assumed 40-yard punt. The only special-teams activity will be field goals and point-after kicks.
As far as how to split up the roster for the spring game, Sarkisian said he's still tossing a couple ideas around.
"I want to make sure that one, it's entertaining for our fans, but two I want it to be competitive and I want to give our kids the best opportunity to perform," Sarkisian said.
As far as the whole "Friday Night Light" theme, Sarkisian said the plan is for it to be an interactive experience between fans and team.
"We'll have some fun events throughout the game to get the crowd involved in the game with different contests and what-not," he said.
• Quick-hit tidbits: Walk-on Jonathan Amosa came into spring camp as a linebacker, and apparently he'll leave as a fullback. He debuted there Tuesday. … Defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu returned to practice Tuesday after missing the Saturday scrimmage because of an undisclosed academic issue. … Catch-of-the-day would easily go to Izbicki, who went full extension, spread-eagle over the middle to haul in a 10-yard pass from Jake Locker. … Speaking of Locker, the UW sports information department has appointed one of its representatives as the quarterback's personal attendant for interviews. ESPN.com was in town Tuesday as part of the long parade of national writers to come visit the talented senior. … The team will hold a '10-10-10' practice Thursday, the day before the spring game, that will be a short but spirited scheme-specific review. It will be a practice, not a walkthrough, Sarkisian noted.