Washington Huskies football coach Jimmy Lake has been suspended without pay for one game after the sideline incident that involved Lake appearing to strike redshirt freshman linebacker Ruperake Fuavai‘s helmet during the team’s 26-16 loss to Oregon on Saturday.
Athletic director Jen Cohen said in a statement that the school had spent the past 24 hours reviewing video of the incident as well as talking to Lake and Fuavai and other players and staff before arriving at their decision.
“While we do not believe his actions were intentional or deliberate, we can have no tolerance for a coach interacting with a student in the manner Coach Lake did,” Cohen said.
Lake will not participate in any football activities until Sunday, and defensive coordinator Bob Gregory will handle head-coaching duties against Arizona State.
The incident in question took place after Fuavai was tangled up with an Oregon player following a first-half kickoff. Lake explained after the game that his intention was to break it up, but the TV replay showed Fuavai had already backed away from the opposing player by the time Lake got there and appeared to move his right hand toward the player’s helmet before pushing him toward the bench.
“I separated them,” Lake said Saturday night. “I didn’t strike him. I separated them.”
Washington is 4-5 this season under Lake and 7-6 overall since he replaced Chris Petersen as head coach after the 2019 season.