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Washington coach Jimmy Lake suspended 1 game over incident

Oct 16, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies head coach Jimmy Lake watches pregame warmups against the UCLA Bruins at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 16, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies head coach Jimmy Lake watches pregame warmups against the UCLA Bruins at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Washington suspended head coach Jimmy Lake for this week’s game — without pay — over Saturday’s on-field physical altercation with one of his players.

Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory will serve as the Huskies’ acting coach for this week’s game against Arizona State. Lake will be reinstated Sunday.

The suspension stems from Lake striking walk-on Ruperake Fuavai in the facemask while separating the linebacker from a sideline scrum in the Huskies’ 26-16 loss to Oregon. Lake also was seen on the national television broadcast pushing Fuavai.

“Our staff has spent the last 24-plus hours reviewing video of the incident, as well as speaking with Coach Lake, the involved student-athlete and several other student-athletes and members of the staff, and I have made the decision to suspend Coach Lake for next Saturday’s game against Arizona State,” Washington athletic director Jen Cohen said in a statement Monday.

“President (Ana Mari) Cauce, our Faculty Athletics Representative, Alexes Harris, and members of our executive staff are in agreement that while we do not believe that his actions were intentional or deliberate, we can have no tolerance for a coach interacting with a student in the manner Coach Lake did. We have high expectations of conduct for our coaches, and we will not shy away from those expectations.”

Lake said after the game that “I didn’t strike him. I separated him.”

The incident came after a first-half kickoff in which Fuavai briefly was mixed up with Oregon’s Jaylon Redd near the Washington sideline. Replays show Lake thrust his right hand, which was holding a sheet of paper, into the helmet of Fauvai and then he followed up with a shove.

Lake, 44, has guided the Huskies to a 7-6 record in two seasons, including 4-5 this season.

He was promoted to head coach after Chris Petersen resigned following the 2019 season. Lake was defensive coordinator and a protege of Petersen, who encouraged the Washington administration to hire Lake.

Lake also created a stir during the week by mocking Oregon’s academic reputation.

The Huskies once were the elite program in the Pacific Northwest but were surpassed by the Ducks earlier this century. Oregon’s victory on Saturday was its 15th in the past 17 meetings with Washington.

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–Field Level Media