On Nov. 28, UW offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb admitted: “I’ve told [athletic director Jen Cohen] this, and I’ve told [coach] Kalen [DeBoer] this: I have a deep passion for calling plays. For me, I do have a desire to be the best O-coordinator in the country. That’s a deep-seated belief in who I am and what I want to be. So there’s definitely a path I’m on with that right now.”

That path led to Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

And then back home.

Despite traveling to Tuscaloosa, interviewing with Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban and being offered Alabama’s offensive coordinator position Monday, Grubb has decided to remain at Washington, a source within the program confirmed to The Times on Tuesday.

In their first season in Seattle, Grubb and DeBoer engineered an offense that ranked first nationally in passing (369.8 yards per game), first downs (27.2 per game), third-down conversions (56.83%), completions of 10-plus yards (193), and tackles for loss allowed (31). The Huskies were second in total offense (516.2 yards per game) and sacks allowed (seven), seventh in scoring (39.7 points per game) and 10th in yards per play (6.88).

A year after finishing 4-8 and firing Jimmy Lake, the Huskies produced perhaps the most rapid turnaround in program history — compiling an 11-2 record, a 7-0 home slate, rivalry wins over Oregon and Washington State, an Alamo Bowl win over Texas and a season-ending No. 8 national ranking.

The ongoing collaboration between Grubb and DeBoer paid dividends.

“As proud of a play-caller as he is, in the summer months and in the spring, he is not afraid to bounce something off me,” DeBoer said in September. “It starts with that humility and desire to have a growth mindset and always continue to get better. Then it goes to just the work ethic he has. There are very few people that are ever going to beat him to the office and be here any later.

“So, him understanding and seeing what’s out there on the football field … he’s locked in. You can see what he’s saying is almost happening before it’s happening. ‘Hey, this safety is going to widen at the snap.’ Oh, yep, there he goes. ‘This linebacker is leaving space for someone to fill that area.’ That’s what’s happening when you click on the film on Sunday.”


For his efforts, Grubb received raises in back-to-back months, becoming the highest-paid assistant in Husky athletics history. The Kingsley, Iowa, native and Buena Vista University alumnus agreed last offseason to a two-year deal worth $1.02 million annually. In November, he earned a two-year extension and a deal set to pay $1.45 million in 2023, $1.55 million in 2024 and $1.67 million in 2025. And after Texas A&M expressed interest in December, that salary was bumped again to $2 million annually over the next three years.

Contract figures were not discussed with either Alabama or Washington on Monday and did not factor into Grubb’s decision, according to a source with direct knowledge of the talks.

Grubb isn’t the only offensive cog returning in 2023. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (who set a program record and led the nation with 4,641 passing yards last fall), wide receivers Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan (the first UW teammates to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards in the same season) and left tackle Troy Fautanu each stiff-armed the NFL in favor of a final season in Seattle.

“Grubb is very on point with what he wants. He’s very strict with the details,” Odunze said in September. “He’s just so hungry, and he’s driven, and so consistent it’s almost crazy. Grubb’s been the same guy since I’ve met him and consistently wants to get better, and he’s still not satisfied. I’m just happy to be a part of his offense.”

For one more year, at least.

“Ryan just instilled a lot of confidence in our offense from Day 1 — the organization, the plan that’s in place, making sure the staff’s on the same page every day to where the message is very clear, whether it’s X- and O-oriented or just culture-oriented within the offense,” DeBoer added in November.

“Man, he’s built great relationships with these players, not just on offense but across the board. The impact he’s made certainly doesn’t go unnoticed.”


Indeed, it didn’t go unnoticed nationally — certainly not by Alabama or Texas A&M.

But on Tuesday, Grubb opted for continuity — with his players, a program and a partnership strengthened over 15 years.

“Ultimately, Kalen will want what’s best for me and my career,” said Grubb, who worked with DeBoer at the University of Sioux Falls (2007-09), Eastern Michigan (2014-16) and Fresno State (2017-18, 2020-21). “He wants me to get to have all those experiences as a head coach someday, and for me to be able to talk to him and use him as a mentor in those situations.

“Because that’s what you really want, if and when those days come, is the right job.”

Alabama wasn’t it.