It appears Ryan Grubb isn’t going anywhere.
UW’s standout offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach agreed in early November to a two-year contract extension through 2025, a source confirmed to The Seattle Times on Tuesday. He is set to earn $1.45 million in 2023, $1.55 million in 2024 and $1.67 million in 2025.
Grubb will be the highest paid assistant in program history, topping former defensive coordinator (and eventual head coach) Jimmy Lake — who made $1.4 million in 2019. A Kingsley, Iowa, native and Buena Vista University alum, Grubb initially signed a two-year contract in December 2021 worth $1,020,000 annually. The performance incentives and buyout figures attached to his extension have not been disclosed.
“My initial emotional response to being here [last winter] was that this place could be unbelievably special, not knowing really anything about Washington,” Grubb said Monday, as his name crept onto the coaching carousel. “Now, going through a full year of it and seeing the support of the community and the kids that are in this program, this place is incredibly special. So I’m excited to be here.”
Under Grubb and coach Kalen DeBoer — whose own two-year extension, through 2028, was announced last week — UW ranked first in the nation in passing (376.7 yards per game), first downs (27.4 per game), third-down conversions (57.06%) and completions of 10 yards or more (182). The Huskies also finished second in total offense (522.2 yards per game) and fifth in scoring (40.8), nearly doubling their scoring average from 2021 (21.5).
In UW’s high-scoring system, Indiana transfer quarterback Michael Penix Jr. assumed the spotlight — leading the nation in passing yards (4,354) while completing 66% of his passes and totaling 33 touchdowns (29 passing, four rushing) and seven interceptions. The redshirt junior also smashed school records for single-game passing yards (516) and completions (36, twice) in his UW debut.
Sophomore wide receivers Rome Odunze (11 games, 70 catches, 1,088 yards, eight TDs) and Jalen McMillan (12 games, 71 catches, 1,040 yards, eight TDs), meanwhile, became the first Husky teammates to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in the same season.
When asked Monday what he’d tell another transfer quarterback considering UW, Penix — a Heisman Trophy hopeful — said: “I’d tell them we’re a team that definitely loves to put the ball in the air. We like to push the ball vertical, and coach Grubb is a great coach. He definitely is going to put you in positions to be successful as far as play calling, and obviously coach DeBoer as well.
“This is a coaching staff that you definitely want to play for. This coaching staff, they work extremely hard, and I don’t think there’s a coaching staff out there that will outwork this staff. This staff goes countless hours, making sure the game plan is what we want it to be and everybody understands their assignment and their job, so whenever it comes time to be on that field we execute at a high level.”
That offensive execution was evident in UW’s season-ending six-game winning streak, including road wins over rivals Oregon and Washington State. The Huskies amassed 703 total yards, 10.5 yards per play and 30 first downs — while going 11 for 13 on third down — in a 51-33 win over WSU on Saturday.
But can athletic director Jen Cohen and Co. ensure that the Huskies’ hardworking staff remains intact?
“I’m really happy with the direction and the investment that Jen [Cohen] continues to make in our program, whether it be the coaches on the field or the critical staff we have off the field — when it comes to recruiting, strength and conditioning, all those other areas,” DeBoer said Monday, before Grubb’s extension had been publicly reported.
Grubb previously worked with DeBoer at three stops — the University of Sioux Falls (offensive-line coach and run-game coordinator from 2007-09), Eastern Michigan (offensive-line coach from 2014-16) and Fresno State (offensive-line coach and run-game coordinator in 2017-18, associate head coach and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 2020-21).
At Pac-12 media day on July 29 — the same day offensive lineman Jaxson Kirkland declared Grubb “a wizard on offense” and “the best-kept secret in college football” — DeBoer said “especially the last eight years, we built the offense together. He’s been very involved. Yes, he was the offensive-line coach prior to becoming the coordinator. But he knew he wanted to be a coordinator, so he was always paying attention and asking questions, and we were developing our system together.
“He’s just really smart, and you mix that with a phenomenal work ethic, and you get a guy that’s organized, that the players believe in, because they see him caring about them as a person and a football player. It’s cool, seeing the trust they’re gaining in him.”
Four months and 10 wins later, No. 9 Washington (10-2) awaits its bowl fate — with a Rose Bowl berth increasingly likely. UW’s postseason destination will be decided Sunday.
But for Grubb and UW, the road doesn’t end there.
“I’ve told Jen this, and I’ve told Kalen this: I have a deep passion for calling plays,” Grubb said Monday. “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.”