10/22/2014

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Sports

Tom Glasgow: As UW looks, what about Ray?

Tom Glasgow: As UW looks, what about Ray?
Ray Horton
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It was the background and resume that UW football fans saw as the perfect fit to replace Steve Sarkisian - a local high school product, former Husky player (defensive back to be specific) and a lengthy NFL coaching run that prepared him well for the Huskies job. While Jim Mora decided to stay at UCLA, there’s another person who fits the criteria and just might be the best fit for the Dawgs.

He’s someone UW Athletic Director Scott Woodward must get in contact with to define his search for the next coach as detailed and exhaustive.

This candidate was raised in Tacoma. He was a high school star at Mount Tahoma. After graduating in 1982, he went on to Montlake to play for Don James and became one of the top defensive backs in college football. He then played on Sundays from 1983-92 with the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys. His coaching career began two years later.

Now in his 20th season as an NFL coach he’s on the verge of getting his first head coaching opportunity. He’s been a part of three Super Bowl championship teams - one as a player and two as a coach. So with a resume that impressive, that unique, as a proud alum of the U-Dub, as a local product, why isn’t there more conversation - any conversation - about Ray Horton?

I spoke with the Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Wednesday evening. He was gracious with his time during a week he’s game-planning to deal with a pretty good player and offense in Tom Brady and the Patriots.

He told me he hasn’t been contacted by anyone representing his former university and he wishes the school all the best in its search. That search should include Horton. In his first year with the Browns, his defense is ranked fourth in total defense in the NFL after being ranked 23rd a season ago.

In the high scoring Pac-12, imagine a defensive-minded coach who has game-planned for Brady, Manning, Brees and Wilson, putting together defensive schemes to slow down the Ducks, Cardinal and Cougars.

Former Husky and Seahawk Nesby Glasgow (no relation) says, “Ray Horton would be an outstanding choice. He and Jim are very similar. He bleeds purple and gold. He is deserving, prepared, ready and qualified to be the University of Washington head coach.”

From former Husky and Seahawks linebacker Michael Jackson, “I believe Ray deserves an opportunity to at least discuss the possibility of coaching the Dawgs. As you know, he is a former player who grew up in the area, so he has ties to the UW. The fact that he has been coaching in the pros for some time says he likes and understands athletes and this sport. Ray is a quality person, played under James, is or has built his resume, and warrants a call from the Dub. It is time we had a great leader with ties to this area and our kids. It seems like every other major program finds a way to tie their own alums to the team, why can't Washington?”

There’s some understandable excitement within “Husky Nation” over Marques Tuiasosopo being named the Dawgs interim coach for their upcoming bowl game. There are those that would love to see Tui land the gig full-time. Tui’s time will come. But he has coaching dues to pay and experience to gain. Horton’s time is here. He has paid his dues and has more than enough experience.

Some may fairly note that Horton has zero college coaching experience. It’s a valid point, but don’t forget that Mora had only one season as a grad assistant on his resume when he took the UCLA job and that’s worked out just fine. Just ask USC.

As of this morning, Missouri coach and former UW assistant Gary Pinkel is out of the mix saying he’s staying with the Tigers. The Seattle Times says the leading candidates are Boise State’s Chris Petersen and Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. There’s no reason Horton shouldn’t be right alongside that duo.

If Scott Woodward isn’t looking at a multiple Super Bowl champion, a former Husky, a local product and person who’s on the verge of becoming an NFL head coach, something’s missing. There’s still time for Woodward to make the call to Cleveland and make what just might be the right call for the future of Husky football.
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