Bow Down to Willingham: How White Guilt Enabled a Secretly Malicious Coach to Destroy the Once-Mighty Washington Huskiesby Derek Johnson
Tyrone Willingham was, at every turn, one man everybody could look at to make themselves feel good. In 2002, when he led Notre Dame football to a 10-3 record, the national media anointed him as an icon of impeccable integrity, discipline and class, the legendary "Molder of Men." For black Americans in particular, Willingham represented one of their own, rising to prominence in a high-profile position usually held by middle-aged white men.
Following his controversial firing at Notre Dame, Willingham came to Washington in 2005 under great fanfare as UW's first-ever black head football coach. At the initial press conference, Willingham stated his purpose: "It is time for the University of Washington to return to being the Dawgs. And it is my understanding that a dawg is a vicious animal."
But from the moment Willingham got behind closed doors with his new team, a disturbing side of his personality emerged. In this ground-breaking book, Derek Johnson presents a shocking side of Tyrone Willingham only seen by the Washington Huskies players. Many of them quickly grew to loathe him and the game of football, while watching in dismay as the public idolized the media's lofty image of Willingham.
By December 2007, crushing defeat after crushing defeat eroded Washington's legacy as a powerhouse. Despite warning signs of incompetence, many fans, sportswriters, pundits and even the NAACP still rushed to Willingham's defense. With regional tensions running high, UW President Mark Emmert rendered his decision to retain Willingham for a fourth year. The resulting fallout blemished the face of Husky Football forever, while raising questions about the true nature of race relations in America.
- Johnson, Derek Books
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- 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Meet the Author
Derek Johnson is the author of Husky Football in the Don James Era, The Dawgs of War and Bow Down to Willingham. From 2001-2008 he was a columnist for Sports Washington magazine and Dawgman.com. He lives in Seattle.
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