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Washington Investigating Coach Jimmy Lake After He Appeared to Hit LB Ruperake Fuavai

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVNovember 7, 2021

Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Saturday's 26-16 loss to the rival Oregon Ducks isn't the only concern for the Washington Huskies.

Washington athletic director Jen Cohen told reporters that the school is investigating head coach Jimmy Lake after video appeared to show him hitting Huskies linebacker Ruperake Fuavai on the helmet before shoving him on the sidelines.

"We are aware of an interaction between head coach Jimmy Lake and a student-athlete during the first half of Saturday's game," Cohen said. "We have high expectations of the conduct of our coaches, and we are working to gather more information on this matter."

Lake ran over to Fuavai when the linebacker was getting in the face of Oregon wide receiver Jaylon Redd on the sidelines after a play.

"I went in to separate them and push them back," Lake said, per Kyle Bonagura of ESPN. "After that, we settled down a little bit. That was our deal all week long was, 'We got to have poise.' We knew this was going to be a very heated matchup and there was going to be a lot of trash-talking. And when we stepped in there, we were glad that a penalty wasn't thrown on our guys to put us back even further on that kickoff return."

He also argued against the notion he punched Fuavai, saying, "I separated them. I didn't strike him. I separated them."

Lake was already in the headlines leading up to the game for appearing to take a shot at Oregon's academics when he said, per Bonagura, "In our world, we battle more academically prowess teams."

Washington hired Lake after former head coach Chris Petersen stepped down following the 2019 campaign.  He was previously the defensive coordinator for the Pac-12 program.

The Huskies went 3-1 during his first season while playing the shortened 2020 schedule but are just 4-5 this year with headline losses to Oregon, Michigan, UCLA and Oregon State, as well as an ugly loss to Montana of the FCS.

The head coach will be even further under the spotlight after Saturday's incident as his team looks to turn around the season and finish on a strong note.          

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