Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian has two assistant coaching jobs to fill, with Michalczik and receivers coach Aaron Roderick each leaving after they had been hired
An offer from the Oakland Raiders to fulfill a lifelong dream and work for a good friend, Jim Michalczik said Monday night, was a no-brainer.
Even if the timing wasn’t so hot.
“My big fear is that people will try to read something into this that’s not there,” said Michalczik after it was announced Monday afternoon that he was leaving the Washington football coaching staff after less than two months for a job as Raiders offensive-line coach. “This was just too good of an opportunity to turn down.”
Michalczik had been officially named UW’s offensive coordinator and offensive-line coach on Dec. 15, and given a three-year guaranteed contract worth an annual $350,000.
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The hiring of Michalczik, a Port Angeles native, was widely regarded as a coup for Sarkisian and the Huskies. Michalczik had spent the previous seven years at California, where he was given ample credit for the transformation of the Bears into one of the best offensive teams in the Pac-10. And while Sarkisian said he would be calling the Huskies’ offensive plays, Michalczik was expected to play a key role with in-state recruiting.
“It was a really great opportunity and I was very happy there,” Michalczik said of the UW position. “I didn’t go looking for another job or anything like that.”
But Wednesday night, after UW’s letter-of-intent signing banquet, Michalczik received a call from Tom Cable, who had just been named Raiders head coach. Both were college offensive linemen on the Palouse in the ’80s — Michalczik at Washington State and Cable at Idaho — and have been friends for years, each members of the Dennis Erickson-Keith Gilbertson coaching tree.
Michalczik was already planning to spend the weekend in the Bay Area where his wife, Jennifer, and two sons, ages 9 and 6, were still living. Cable and Michalczik met over the weekend and ironed out his new job with the Raiders.
Michalczik’s wife, a former Washington volleyball player, had spent much of last week looking for houses in the Seattle area.
“We were very excited about going to Seattle,” Michalczik said, though he added that not having to move his family was a plus in deciding to take the Raiders job.
Contract details for Michalczik with Oakland weren’t announced, but Michalczik said, “It’s a good situation.”
He said Sarkisian was disappointed, with his departure creating another opening on the UW staff, but that Sarkisian ultimately understood.
Michalczik is the second Huskies assistant to leave in the last two weeks after having been announced to the staff. Receivers coach Aaron Roderick was with the Huskies 11 days before deciding to return to Utah late last month, citing personal reasons, including the fact that his wife would be able to retain her job as an assistant softball coach with the Utes.
Michalczik had yet to sign his UW contract, instead signing a memorandum of understanding, and there was no buyout clause in his deal, so there will be no penalty for leaving.
“The hardest thing about this was leaving Sark and leaving Washington, because I really believe in him and like him and I really believe in what he is going to do there,” Michalczik said. “I hope people don’t try to find some negative out of that, because that’s not the case at all. But there are only 32 of these jobs in the world.”
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org