|Willingham fires Baer, Simmons from his Washington staff|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 17 December 2007 14:26|
Baer had been an assistant with Willingham for 13 years, dating to their days at Stanford and Notre Dame. Special teams and tight ends coach Bob Simmons will also not be back.
Washington's defense was the worst in school history, allowing 446.4 yards per game, and responsible for many of the team's second half of games collapses in a 4-9 season.
``I consider Kent Baer and Bob Simmons excellent coaches and consummate professionals,'' Willingham said in a statement released by the school. ``Making change such as this is never easy, nor is it done without careful thought and consideration.
Washington running backs coach Trent Miles already has left to take the coaching job at Indiana State.
Willingham, the first Washington coach with three consecutive losing seasons, lost his most ardent supporter last week when athletic director Todd Turner was forced to resign effective Jan. 31.
When school president Dr. Mark Emmert decided after days of delay earlier this month to bring Willingham back for 2008, he committed to just the fourth year of the coach's five-year contract.
Baer, 56, has been a defensive coordinator every year since 1983, when he began a three-year stint in that role at Utah State. In 2002, his and Willingham's first season at Notre Dame, Baer, a native of Logan, Utah, won the Frank Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant.
Simmons, 59, just finished his third season at Washington after following Willingham to Notre Dame from 2002-04. The native of East Cleveland, Ohio, was 30-38 as Oklahoma State's head coach from 1995-2000. He was Big 12 coach of the year for the 1997 season for leading the Cowboys to the Alamo Bowl.