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Passing the torch: Lake 'better suited' than Petersen to carry on Husky tradition

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo
UW football coach Chris Petersen, left, shakes hands with defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake following a news conference about Lake taking over the head coaching job. The Huskies are 7-5 and bound for a sixth straight bowl game under Petersen’s leadership. ";

It comes down to passion. That's what KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel says is the difference between outgoing University of Washington football coach Chris Petersen and his successor Jimmy Lake. We're learning more about what went into Petersen's surprise announcement this week. Art talked about it with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

At his news conference this week, Petersen admitted that he didn't appreciate his team's appearance in the Rose Bowl last season. The Huskies hadn't been to that prestigious bowl game since the 2000 season.

"This should have been a pinnacle experience for anybody involved," Thiel said. "But Petersen said that all the stresses of the job, all the media obligations, all the other issues, basically spoiled the experience."

And that came from a guy raised in California, Thiel stressed. 

Thiel said Petersen has lost his passion. One of the reasons? The constant pressure of recruitment. Petersen will transition to a leadership advisory role in the UW athletic department after his team's bowl appearance this season.

Lake has been UW's defensive coordinator since coming to Washington with Petersen from Boise State in 2014. He grew up in Spokane and went to Eastern Washington University. He is 42. Petersen is 55. 

Thiel said Lake will bring youth, energy and passion to his first head coaching job.

"He's much more suited right now than Petersen to carry on the Husky tradition."

Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Sports With Art Thiel with iTunes orGoogle Play now. You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest.

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.