Football: Ex-Cal assistant Tosh Lupoi makes first public comments on move to Washington

Washington made its five new assistant football coaches — including Tosh Lupoi and Eric Keisau, formerly of Cal — available to Seattle-area reporters in a press conference on Wednesday.

We made several requests to speak with Lupoi after the press conference, but were turned down by the UW athletic department.

In lieu of that — and aware that the questions Seattle reporters probably asked were different than those we would have posed — here is a link to text and video of Lupoi’s interview session, courtesy of the Seattle Times.

Here is my online story.

A few highlights from the Seattle Times interview transcription:

On the quick transition from recruiting for Cal to recruiting for UW: “It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever gone through. It was a process that kind of felt like I was set where I was going to be there at Cal and when Justin (Wilcox) came over here and Pete (Peter Sirmon) I was the last one to the process to say no to this opportunity and kind of do some thorough homework for a couple of weeks of what this opportunity really was all about and what it meant and kind of got to a point to where it felt it was right and something you couldn’t say no to from what this place and coach (Steve) Sark (Sarkisian) represents and to be a part of this and that resulted in immediate competition of trying to go about it the right way and begin competing at the place I was just at so it was difficult. But I thought coach Sark had tremendous advice in that process and truthfully a lot of the individuals that were being recruited from the other place, he approached it of going about it the right way and at times backing off of certain guys where he had already established relationships with the young men that we were recruiting there and then I could kind of get in there and intermingle within the staff and doing it the right way and not making it about me but making it about Washington and all the things that this place has to offer. I thought that was great advice on his part.”

On how awkward the timing was: “It was. I’m a real passionate individual and I kind of doing all the thorough research and the homework about this place, for me making the transition felt like I had already done such thorough homework on it it was kind of natural for me to begin speaking on behalf of this place. I think that kind of shocked some families and some young men, to them it was a matter of a day or two of the transition and now I’m speaking on behalf of this place. For those first few days was continuing on myself and the relationship we had established and I think that was kind of a shock and looking back on it of how I would redo it or regret, that transition was so quick and for me it was a lengthy 14-15-day process of learning about this place where obviously I hadn’t spoken a word about it to recruits representing a different place where now going into the homes wearing a different Polo, it was a little bit shocking of ‘wait, hold on, we were just talking about Cal a week ago or something.’ Both great places, great people involved in both. As far as the opportunity there couldn’t be more thankful to coach (Jeff) Tedford given the opportunity to be there and all the relationships that I formed there and just it was an awesome place and I left for an awesome opportunity here.”

On the backlash he received from leaving Cal: “It was tough because of all of the great things that place represents. That was my roots and where I played at, but at the same time I think it was time and I’ve been blessed to have some other opportunities come up each year and this is one where I truly felt it was the best and something that I wanted to be part of and something, since being here, it was the best decision I’ve made.”

On Jeff Tedford’s reaction: “I think he understood and was always kind of been there and I’ve been offered good advice over the past year so it was kind of a quick conversation and I think at that point, I had already said no to the opportunity for some time so I think he understood that there was a lot that was put into this decision and it wasn’t something that was done in just one day or so so I think he was understanding of the opportunity that was offered here and the reasons to want to start something new.”

On how many times he said no to UW: “I don’t know, but it was a process for about two weeks. Kind of like all the places, I had never taken an interview anywhere, I don’t have an agent, it was something that just felt like it was going to be the place that I remained and that’s where I played and I had a lot of great opportunities and days there. So it was natural for me to say no. And then just talking to him throughout those weeks you realize what a great recruiter he is and a lot of great points he expressed kind of weared on me.”

On if there was an offer in his mind of what it was going to take to leave Cal: “To me it was about the fit and the people that were associated with whatever opportunity was going to come up for me and what that place represents. This alumni association, the magnitude of the degree, the tradition here, those were the things. It wasn’t necessarily about the actual deal and what was offered. That was more, kind of the content of what this opportunity offered is what most excited me.”

On the reaction from the people at Cal: “That’s my blood, sweat and that had a major impact on seeing what alumni or what stories were told, but it’s something that you move on and you find out real quickly who your real friends are and like I said, I have nothing but great things to say about that staff and the university and the opportunity I was offered there. I will never forget those times and am very appreciative of the alumni there and all my experiences at Cal.”

On rumors of getting a boat: “Yeah, I haven’t been on that boat. Maybe it’s a canoe or something.”

Earlier . . .

UW head coach Steve Sarkisian made introductory remarks about his five new assistants. Here’s are excerpts:

Sarkisian on Lupoi: “Tosh, quite honestly, has been a thorn in my side the last 5-6 years on the recruiting front. What’s the old adage, if you can’t beat him, get ’em to join you, right? It took a little longer than I would have liked, but we got Tosh on board.

“Everybody wants to talk about the recruiting side of it, but he’s a tremendous football coach. You look at what his defensive lines have done there at Cal in recent history. It speaks to the fact that, yeah, he’s a tremendous recruiter and he works at that, but he’s also an excellent football coach and I think we’ll see that here in time.”

Sarkisian on Kiesau: “From a philosophical standpoint, he brings a lot of similarities to what we do offensively, yet can bring some new ideas to enhance what we’re doing.”

Jeff Faraudo

  • Easy Ed

    Hey Moron, Daddy must be so proud that you could’nt qualify for admission to his alma mater! Oh well if you can’t be admitted then become a hater.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    You created T. Lupoi. You recruited him, educated him and gave him his first job. If you don’t like the way “it” turned out who is to blame?

  • BlueNGold

    hey moron, if social welfare is “stupid” and a “gimme major”, how is it you were never able to qualify for admission to it?

  • BlueNGold

    the sleazy cheaters’ mens’ b-ball program is an unmitigated disaster this year. Hey moron, is that because they decided to play by the rules for a change?

  • GoGo Bears

    Hey — how did the Cal/$C basketball game turnout.

    Doesn’t our $C friend want to talk about the basketball game?



  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Hey – who cares including you Sherm?

    If I was you I would start repairing the image of Social Welfare education.

    It just took a pounding on this board.

    The next thing you know an advisor will post about his team’s starting QB who may not be eligible next season due to low academics. Of course, the advisor blames it on Sociology and not Social Welfare. Every football player majoring in Social Welfare passes those rigorous academics.

  • GoGo Bears

    Like I said — too cowardly to talk about the basketball game.

    This Sherm you speak of — is he the one who posted your history on Bear Insider — a fun read!

    Now please go book me a cruise.

  • GoGo Bears

    You know what school & department doesn’t take a beating on these boards? UC Davis Law school

    Now that’s a school which has high standards and manages to get rid of the inferior students. If you have a mental breakdown and cry in class, they boot you out. They let you tell your friends “oh i am taking a medical leave” but they never let you back, and then the mental misfits end up posting alone on New Year’s Eve without any friends. Good job, UCD!

  • Easy Ed

    “Oh Daddy! Daddy! I’m so sorry that I was too stupid to get into Cal! I’ll hate them as long as I live!”


  • The critical reading and analytical skills this group of comments reflect are stunningly deficient. I’m with #42 and #47. Let’s review his comments–“it wasn’t necessarily about the actual deal and what was offered. It was about the fit and the people” “Powerful alumni association (mentioned twice)” “[gives me] the opportunity to no longer coach a three-man front and be part of a system that at times had [only] two defensive linemen on the field, when from this standpoint this is going to be an opportunity where it a down four man front…[with me having a] major role in coaching four guys on the field all the time.” “He [Sark] pursued me like I felt like a recruit…feeling very wanted here. That was definitely very special.”

    I don’t like that he left or the way he left, but you guys are analytically incompetent if you don’t hear what he was really saying in this press interview. The Teddy would rather let you guys rant about how bad/wrong Tutu was in taking the deal, but the truth is there to see. He didn’t like the defensive scheme, he didn’t feel he had an important role in it as a coach, he didn’t believe the alumni was committed, he didn’t feel wanted by Teddy or anyone else, he didn’t feel appreciated for what he was bringing. Put in that light, is this really a surprise that he opted for a future he could believe in rather than a past that just never seemed to change in ways that gave him hope. If you are angry about what happened, put your focus in the right direction and demand some changes in Cal football.

  • Easy Ed

    PeteBear I frankly don’t care where Tosh goes or what he does. This is America and he is free to move on for whatever reason. Money? Hates Tedford? Hates Cal? Loves UW? Fine.

    The way he left and the vist to Shaq Thompson (which counted as a Cal visit) When he knew he was leaving and even tried to recruit Shaq? Telling other recruits not to go to Cal? Disgusting. But hey, I understand why he would hate Coach Tedford, all the guy did was take a washed out ex Cal football player, get him into coaching at this level, pay him six figures and put him in charge of recruiting. Really treated him like crap eh?

  • Easy Ed–Apparently what Teddy did was to forget to do what any competent manager of a multi-million $ business organization would do as a matter of course: do periodic reviews with your key people to establish feedback loops in both directions. What did JT like about what TL was doing and what did he think TL needed improvement on (e.g., ethics re instructing players to take an injury dive). How was TL feeling about his role and responsibilities and the direction of the program? TL implied that the Teddy was not too surprised about the change, and it does now appear that this process went on for a month or more. So if you are Teddy, and you have all your recruit marbles wrapped up in one guy [note to JT–is this a prudent risk mitigation strategy?] who is your face with the key recruits and he is letting you know verbally (and perhaps by body and other language way before that (i.e., comment re not liking use of the 2 and 3 man d-lines)) what would you do? Would you keep throwing him out there and hope things go okay or do you a) go to tag-team recruiting with TL and b) force the point–“TL, I can’t be sending you out to recruit for me and this school unless I know for sure that you are committed to this program and the direction we are taking. I need your word on that and that if you get approached again you will not entertain any move [at least within the conference] for at least the next 6 months.” If Teddy did this then he should come forward with that information. If he didn’t do that, then Sandy should have a little sit down (called a performance review) and give him some constructive feedback on areas (and I’m sure there are more than just this one)where he needs to improve if he wishes to remain in charge of this program.

  • John

    I’m in aggreement with earlier sentiments that Tosh’s reason for leaving are essentially none my business. Why? Because in the end none of us have enough information to verify anything he says. So in the final analysis he left cause he wanted to and that’s all anyone from our perspective (on the outside looking in)can say. Yes, you there seems to be some implications in what Tosh said, but hardly anything to drive an analysis worth even doing. If you have any real info. that JT didn’t perform evals like you suggest I’d like to see it. My sense is you don’t.

    Did you see the Ides of March movie?

  • John–good call on the comment; time to move on. I have no info on whether JT did evals, but the probabilities are on my side, since a) most people don’t get evals from bosses, and b) JT’s communications skills, or lack thereof, are there for the whole world to see (but not hear, since he never really opens up).

    didn’t see the movie, but from the summary I read just now, this event is a long way from that. having said that, would JT be the Morris character in your mind–backed into a corner and willing to deal his values to come out looking like he won?