Jimmy Lake will not coach Washington on Saturday due to a one-game suspension for getting physical with one of his players during a game. A new allegation suggests this is not the first time that sort of thing has happened.
Five eyewitnesses anonymously told Mike Vorel of the Seattle Times that Lake grabbed and threw wide receiver Quinten Pounds into a locker at halftime of a 2019 game. The witnesses were not made aware of the identities or details of the other accounts, but all still gave similar details of the alleged incident.
One of the eyewitnesses said Lake, then the team’s defensive coordinator, came into the locker room on “a complete rampage” with the Huskies trailing Arizona 17-13 on Oct. 12, 2019. The witness said Lake picked up Pounds and threw him into a locker, and described the incident as “violent” and “unprompted.” Other witnesses said Pounds was wearing shoulder pads and standing very near the locker. Two of the other eyewitnesses said they felt Lake crossed a line in his interaction with Pounds, but one felt it “wasn’t with malicious intent.”
The eyewitnesses to the alleged incident differed on how they viewed the situation, with some arguing that it was not seen as a big deal at the time and was seen as simply part of football. One even argued that it fired up the team. Others said it was “shocking” and atypical of a locker-room environment.
Several other players said they did not remember any altercation at all. One flatly denied it happened, saying he was standing next to Lake and that some players were simply “too soft to take criticism from a coach that wanted to win.”
In a statement to the Times, Lake denied that “anything improper” went on at halftime. He added that no one ever came to him with concerns about anything he did during the game, and that no one from the university had ever spoken to him about any improper conduct, suggesting no complaints were made.
Lake was already facing scrutiny for pushing one of his players and swatting him in the helmet during last week’s game against Oregon. The university gave him a one-game suspension for his actions.
Lake succeeded Chris Petersen as Washington head coach in December 2019, roughly two months after this alleged incident took place. He has a 7-6 record in two seasons at the helm with the Huskies.