Former UW Huskies head coach and defensive coordinator Jim Lambright dies at 77

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As a player, assistant coach, defensive coordinator and head coach, Jim Lambright participated in more games with the University of Washington football program — 386 — than any other person.

Lambright — an Everett product who most famously helped lead the Huskies to its most recent national championship in 1991 as its defensive coordinator — has died at age 77, the family confirmed on Sunday afternoon. The cause of death was not announced.

In six seasons as UW’s head coach from 1993 to 1998, Lambright compiled a 44-25-1 record and a share of the Pac-10 title in 1995. He joined UW’s staff in 1969 and was elevated to the role of defensive coordinator under head coach Don James in 1978. It’s a role he held for 15 consecutive seasons. Together, Lambright and James won six Pac-8 and Pac-10 titles.

“Coach Lambright was a legend at the UW, particularly when it came to playing the kind of physical, aggressive defense that his teams were known for,” current UW head coach Jimmy Lake said in a statement. “He was always supportive of the program that he loved so much. His impact on Husky football will not be forgotten.”

Lambright also lettered at defensive end at UW under head coach Jim Owens from 1962 to 1964.He contributed to UW’s 1963 team that won a conference title as well as a berth in the Rose Bowl. In 1964, he earned All-Coast honors as a defensive end, and also earned the program’s Guy Flaherty Most Inspirational Award.

He attended Everett High School and coached at Fife High School and Shoreline Community College early in his career.

“I’m deeply saddened by the news of Coach Lambright’s passing,” UW athletics director Jen Cohen added in a statement. “Coach Lambright is synonymous with Husky football and he gave so much to this program both as a player and coach. My love for the University of Washington was sparked during Coach’s tenure on our football staff and I’m grateful for the impact he had on so many.

“I’d like to extend heartfelt condolences to his family, former players, teammates and coaches.”

Lambright is survived by his daughter, Kris and son, Eric; and grandchildren Caroline and Matt.

Lambright’s family suggests donations to the University of Washington Medical Center or any local charity or cause supporting efforts to suppress the COVID-19 outbreak — including first responders, local hospitals and local businesses.


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