Husky Football Blog
Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.
January 25, 2008 6:27 PM
Posted by Bob Condotta
Here's an unedited version of our latest story on Ed Donatell:
The task of reviving a Washington Husky defense that last season was statistically the worst in school history will apparently fall on Ed Donatell.
Several sources told The Times Friday that Donatell was offered the job and expected to take it, with an official announcement due possibly as soon as Saturday.
Donatell was in Seattle meeting with UW coach Tyrone Willingham and other school officials.
The 50-year-old Donatell most recently was the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons before being let go when Jim Mora was fired as coach following the 2006 season.
Donatell spent last season working with the New York Jets in an unspecified position and has been in the NFL since 1990.
But he spent the previous decade working in the college ranks, including a stint in 1981-82 as a graduate assistant at UW under Don James working with the defense.
"He was a good young coach," James said. "He was one of those guys I thought definitely had a career in coaching and was going to make it. He was a hard worker and smart. I’m pleased he would have that opportunity."
Donatell's apparent hiring ends a search that began Dec. 16 when UW coach Tyrone Willingham fired Kent Baer, who had served as his defensive coordinator for the previous nine seasons, and had worked with him for 13.
Baer was let go after the Huskies allowed a school-record 446.8 yards per game and ranked last in the Pac-10 in yards allowed, ninth in points allowed (31.6) and last in rushing defense (184.5).
The Huskies initially offered the job to UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker. But Walker decided to stay put at UCLA with new Bruins head coach Rick Neuheisel, who coached the Huskies from 1999-2002.
Donatell, a native of Akron, Ohio, has worked primarily as defensive backs coach or defensive coordinator in his career.
He was the defensive coordinator for four years with the Green Bay Packers but was fired after the 2003 season when the Packers were memorably defeated in the playoffs after the Philadelphia Eagles converted a fourth-and-26 play.
Some Packers players later spoke up for Donatell, including Brett Favre, who told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in 2005 that "he's a great guy. I think the players related to him really well. He was a players' coach and he was real energetic. I just have nothing but good things to say about him."
Donatell's college experience includes three years as secondary coach at Idaho from 1986-88 when former Husky head coach Keith Gilbertson was head coach.
Donatell was also a secondary coach at Pacific (1983-85) and Cal State-Fullerton (1989) before entering the NFL ranks, working with the Broncos, Chiefs, Jets, Packers and Falcons. He was the secondary coach when the Broncos won Super Bowls in 1998 and 1999.
He played defensive back at Glenville (W. Va.) State College.
FYI --- Pete Carroll was not the head coach at Pacific when Donatell was there. Carroll was offensive coordinator there in 1983 before moving on, so they overlapped one season.