Washington is hiring Arizona’s Jedd Fisch to succeed Kalen DeBoer as the next coach of the Huskies on Sunday, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Fisch was notifying his team and Washington was still preparing an official announcement.
The person said Fisch had agreed to a seven-year deal that will pay an average of $7.75 million annually.
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Less than a week after playing for the national championship, the Huskies moved quickly to fill the vacancy created when DeBoer left for Alabama.
Washington athletic director Troy Dannen was tasked with his first big decision since taking over in October and tried to rapidly provide stability for a football program coming off its best season in more than three decades and heading for the Big Ten next season.
Fisch has received rave reviews for his work at Arizona. He took over a program in 2021 that had sunk to the bottom of the Pac-12, and had the Wildcats competing for a conference title this past season. The Wildcats finished 10-3, were third in the Pac-12 standings and beat Oklahoma in the Alamo Bowl.
Fisch’s move comes as Arizona tries to shore up financial difficulties before its move to the Big 12 next year.
Athletic director Dave Heeke announced a plan last Thursday to help the school recover from a university-wide $240 million miscalculation of projected cash on hand. The plan includes hiring freezes and a pause on all major construction projects with the athletic department still on the hook to repay a $55 million loan issued during the pandemic.
Arizona is the first head coaching gig for Fisch, who bounced around between the college and professional game as an assistant for most of his coaching career, including a stop in Seattle as quarterbacks coach for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks.
He is 16-21 in his three seasons with the Wildcats.
Fisch, 47, is the fourth head coach at Washington since the 2019 season. Chris Petersen stepped away from coaching following the 2019 season. Defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake replaced Petersen but was fired with two games left in his second season, leading to the hiring of DeBoer after the 2021 season.
Landing Fisch concludes a tumultuous week for Washington on a high note.
The Huskies were beaten by Michigan 34-13 in the national championship game last Monday, the first of a series of losses in a five-day span. A significant number of key contributors from that 14-1 team declared for the NFL draft, including a few players that were thought to be considering a return for 2024.
But the big blow came Friday when DeBoer left after two seasons and 25 victories to take over at Alabama following the retirement of Nick Saban. Washington fans thought they were getting long-term stability when DeBoer was hired, but the success over his two seasons raised his profile enough to make the short list for the Crimson Tide job when Saban stepped away.