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Lake names Gregory as defensive coordinator, reveals changes to coaching staff

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Lake names Gregory as defensive coordinator, reveals changes to coaching staff

Bob Gregory talks to the media on Oct. 29, 2019. On Feb. 1, 2021, the Washington football team elevated Gregory from inside linebackers coach to defensive coordinator.

Washington football head coach Jimmy Lake named inside linebackers coach Bob Gregory as the team’s new defensive coordinator Monday morning.

The announcement comes less than two weeks after former UW defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski officially took the same position at Texas. Kwiatkowksi spent seven seasons with Lake and the Huskies from 2014 to 2020.

Gregory has also spent the past seven seasons on the UW coaching staff, most recently as the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator. In his new role, Gregory will remain as inside linebackers coach.

"Coach Gregory is the perfect fit to take over the reins as our new defensive coordinator,” Lake said. “He has extensive experience as a coordinator in this league and has been a big part of our success on that side of the ball the last seven seasons. I'm excited for him to step into this role and look forward to continue building on the momentum we have going."

In 2010, Gregory joined former UW and Boise State coach Chris Peterson in Boise, also as the linebackers coach. He arrived at Washington with Peterson in 2014, remaining alongside Lake as members of Peterson’s defensive coaching unit. 

Gregory previously served as a defensive coordinator in the Pac-12 — or Pac-10, at the time — from 2002-09 with California, before he teamed up with Peterson at Boise State. In all, he’s spent the past 22 years as a member of a Division I program’s defensive coaching staff.

Gregory sideline pic

Assistant coach Bob Gregory expresses his anger at the officials after a clock error during a Washington football game against California. Gregory has spent the past decade in the Chris Petersen coaching tree and was named defensive coordinator by head coach Jimmy Lake on Feb. 1, 2021.

“Once this occured, we did an exhaustive process,” Lake said. “We interviewed numerous people throughout the country, college, NFL, and we came back and we had the best defensive coordinator right here on our staff and that’s Bob Gregory. He has 15 years of calling defense at the college level, and he’s been an integral part of defensive success.”

During his time with the Huskies, Gregory has been part of an organization that developed unprecedented defensive success, having led the Pac-12 in scoring and total defense over the past four years.

Notable linebackers to play in the Pacific Northwest during Gregory’s tenure include 2018 Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year Ben Burr-Kirven and former All-American Shaq Thompson.

Current UW inside linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors in his sophomore year under Gregory in 2020. With big shoes to fill following Kwiatkowski’s departure and Lake’s success, Gregory will need continued production from Ulofoshio in order to maintain the Huskies’ high-profile defensive standards.

Additional coaching changes

Gregory wasn’t the only coaching change Lake announced Monday morning.

Co-defensive coordinator Ikaika Malloe has shifted from defensive line to outside linebackers coach. A long time defensive line and defensive tackles coach, Malloe has yet to coach outside linebackers during his career.

To fill in as defensive line coach, Rip Rowan has been elevated to that role from defensive analyst. Rowan spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Florida Atlantic prior to the past two seasons as defensive analyst at Washington.

“We personally have seen how smart and knowledgeable, and how much energy and juice Rip possesses,” Lake said. “I cannot wait for you all to see that once we get to practice.”

Lastly, running backs coach Keith Bhonapha will serve as special teams coordinator along with his current position. He has yet to serve as special teams coordinator during his 17-year coaching career.

Reach reporter Nick Mendro and Anthony Edwards at Twitter: @UWDailySports

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