BY SPNW Staff 12:56PM 01/12/2012

Huskies Hire Keith Heyward To Coach Secondary

University of Washington football coach Steve Sarkisian announced Thursday that Keith Heyward has joined the football coaching staff as defensive backs coach. Heyward replaces Jeff Mills, ousted along with defensive coordinator Nick Holt and linebackers coach Mike Cox on Jan. 2, three days after Washington gave up 67 points in a 67-56 loss to Baylor in the Alamo Bowl.

Heyward comes to Washington after coaching at Oregon State, his alma mater, for the past four seasons. Heyward, the Beavers’ secondary coach, takes over a unit that allowed 284.6 passing yards per game and 22 TD passes overall in 2011.

“Keith is a bright, young coach and a terrific recruiter,” Sarkisian said in a statement released by the athletic department. “I think he’ll be a great fit with our new defensive staff, in particular Justin Wilcox, our new coordinator.”

Prior to joining the OSU staff in 2008, Heyward spent one season (2007) as an assistant at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CA., and the two seasons before that as a graduate assistant at Oregon State.

Heyward coached second-team All-Pac-12 cornerback Jordan Poyer this past season, as well as safety Lance Mitchell, who earned honorable mention all-conference.

In his first season in charge of the secondary in Corvallis (2008), Heyward coached cornerbacks Brandon Hughes and Keenan Lewis, currently with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively.

As an Oregon State player from 1997-00, Heyward won four letters, earning honorable mention All-Pac-10 following his senior season, which he capped by playing in the Hula Bowl.

Heyward started 35 consecutive games at cornerback for Oregon State and finished his career with a 41-9 victory over Notre Dame in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl, a win that ended an 11-1 season for OSU.

Following his college career, Heyward played professionally for the BC Lions in the CFL, the Scottish Claymores in NFL Europe and the L.A. Avengers in the Arena League. He also spent time in training camps with the 49ers and Seahawks.

Heyward graduated from Taft High in Woodland Hills, CA., and earned a degree in communications from OSU in 2002.


  • Matt712

    It would be a growth-stunting, short-sighted mistake for Seattle, a young team on the rise, to go after Manning (or anyone else) in the twilight his career. It just doesn’t seem like it would be a good chemical match nor the direction Schneider and Carrol are going. If the Seahawks are serious about long-term, dynasty type success, they hsould go after a younger talent that will grow with the guys around him. Both Flynn and Tevaris Jackson fit that bill, but Flynn gets the nod because in all of Jackson’s starts he has not measured up to Flynn’s mere two.   …Having said that, it would be dangerous for Seattle to see Manning go to Arizona and throw to Larry Fitzgerald… as spectacular as it would be to watch.

  • jafabian

    The Hawks are THIS far away from being a succesful playoff team.  Manning could get the team over that hump but he isn’t getting any younger.  When the Chiefs signed Nick…I mean Joe Montana they spiraled when he left after a couple years.  Flynn would be a nice long term investment and GB has been good to us before on the QB front.  Flynn could back up Tavaris for a season or two and Tavaris had a decent season. 

    I agree that Manning going to the Cardinals would be disasterous for the Seahawks.  It’s not like the NFC is a powerhouse division.  He’d make all the QB’s in the division look like Division II players.

  • RadioGuy

    Being a Packers fan, I like Matt Flynn for obvious reasons, but I think I’d like to see more than two starts in four years out of a guy before throwing millions of dollars at him.  I’ve mentioned my reservations about Peyton Manning in other posts, so I’ll leave those issues be.

    I’d like to throw out another name, a free agent quarterback who had has terrific success at the collegiate level and a fair amount of success as a pro, a guy whose physical skills are as unquestionable as the concerns about his maturity level: Vince Young.  Since we’re dealing with multiple “ifs” while discussing Flynn or Manning, let’s look at VY from that same perspective.  “If” Vince Young (who would not cost a huge amount after the year he had in Philly) came to Seattle in the right frame of mind under a coach who has witnessed up close what breathtaking talent he brings to the table, signing him could be the steal of the year…”if” he doesn’t cut it, cut him.

    There are other decent free agent QBs out there, including Kyle Orton, and it would be a huge roll of the dice with Young.  Unlike Flynn, he’s had enough NFL experience to prove he’s capable of starting and winning at this level.  Unlike Manning, there are no large questions about his physical health…the guy’s a flat-out stud.  The question is whether it’s in him to give a sustained, high-level effort over the course of a season without the sidebar issues that have continually gotten in the way.

    Depending on how much it would cost to sign him to a one-year deal (let’s face it, he doesn’t have a lot of leverage), Vince Young is intriguing.  The risk wouldn’t be as high as Flynn or Manning, but the rewards could be considerable…”if”…