BY Art Thiel 02:58PM 11/21/2016

CB Gardenhire quits Huskies before Apple Cup

The Apple Cup will be a no-talk zone for players, by orders of coaches Chris Petersen and Mike Leach. Unrelated, Huskies were surprised to learn junior CB Darren Gardenhire quit the team.

Chris Petersen was surprised to learn CB Darren Gardenhire quit the team. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest file

Apparently hoping to keep the Apple Cup as sterile as possible, Washington coach Chris Petersen and Washington State coach Mike Leach have banned player interviews this week ahead of the Friday showdown in Pullman for the Pac-12 North Division championship.

So no trash trash talk from principals is happening on conventional media and likely not on social media, given both coaches’ penchant for control. With stakes and money so high, both coaches are attempting to avert pre-game inflammation.

For certain, there will be nothing from Huskies junior CB Darren Gardenhire, a reserve who surprised coaches and teammates when he announced via his Instagram account that he was quitting the program and hopes to transfer.

At his weekly press conference Monday, a terse Petersen said only there was a “difference in philosophy is probably best way you could put it.”

He said the decision was the player’s, and happened sometime after the Huskies’ 44-18 win over Arizona State Saturday.

The 5-11, 185-pounder from Long Beach, CA, a cousin of former UW RB Dwayne Washington, played in every game this season and was a regular on special teams, although he started the opener against Rutgers. But a year ago, he started nine games before losing the starting job this season to senior Kevin King.

Saturday he had a tackle and fumble recovery against ASU. He also had an interception against Oregon State and a sack at Arizona. For the season, he had 13 tackles.

Although King is a senior and the other starting cornerback, junior Sidney Jones, is expected to declare for the NFL draft, the Huskies have a number of talented cornerbacks on the way up, including Austin Joyner, which may have been a factor.

His Instagram message read:

“I would just Like to say that I appreciate everyone At the University of Washington and thank them for everything they’ve helped me accomplish while I spent my time here. After talking with my family and really taking time to make this decision. I will no longer be continuing my career here at the University of Washington. It was a real tough decision but I have to go wit ma Heart and make the best decision I feel is for my future. And I will transfer to the University i feel is right to do it at. And to my Teammates y’all already know what y’all gotta do and that’s get everything y’all worked hard for and deserve. !”


  • wabubba67

    I despise quitters…especially at this point in the season. Don’t like being a reserve CB on a national championship contending team?? Ok…how about if you compete harder in practice and make yourself, the other CBs, WRs, and entire team better?? Or you can just quit and transfer to Montana or Portland State.

    Geez…at least keep your mouth shut and enjoy the ride at this point in the season instead of becoming a distraction that could possibly hurt your beloved teammates. After the season, go ahead and quit.

    • 1coolguy

      I don’t have an issue with a player meeting with the HC then deciding what to do with his future, AFTER the season. Whoever is advising this kid has turned a fairly normal situation into a Dumb and Dumber episode. My only advice: Quit listening to your advisors, as they are not doing you any favors.
      All football coaches admire and respect Petersen, so anyone leaving the program under less than stellar circumstances will not be looked upon well.

    • Comrade Suge

      If you despise quitters, then I guess you despise Chris Petersen and Pete Carroll for quitting on their programs (Boise State and USC). I don’t blame anyone for looking out for #1 and neither should you.

      • Pixdawg13

        If Gardenhire were leaving UW for the NFL, that might make your comparison apt. As is–nope. You’re off base.

        • Comrade Suge

          So wait, Petersen left Boise State for the NFL?

          • wabubba67

            Petersen left BSU for an opportunity to regularly compete for a national title in a more competitive and prestigious conference. But I’m guessing you already knew that? Gardenhire will be playing for an FBS or Div. II school next year.

      • wabubba67

        Unless Carroll and Petersen left their teams in mid season, I have no problem with them leaving for a more competitive atmosphere where they are rewarded with more financial compensation. In both cases, each head coach was loyal to their program and had previously refused multiple offers.

        In Gardenhire’s case, he quit with at least two more games to play…and it is extremely unlikely that he will be playing in a more competitive atmosphere (ie. Alabama, Ohio St., Michigan) due to NCAA transfer rules. He must move down a level in order to play next year. The timing is awful…he becomes a distraction and leaves his team and teammates (who he professes to love) short handed. It’s a selfish move during the season.

        I’m thankful that my parents would not allow me to quit anything once I started…until the season was over it there was a natural break in the activity. Some kids never learned how to commit or lacked the work ethic to persevere during adverse conditions. Easier to just quit, I suppose.

        • Comrade Suge

          So you’re saying these guys didn’t skip out on their contracts? Yes or no?

          • wabubba67

            I’m saying that they didn’t leave their teams during the season. Know of any desirable NCAA coaches currently on the last year of their contract? Me either. What Carroll and Petersen did is accepted practice among coaches, administrators, and players.

          • Comrade Suge

            I’m sure those schools felt good as their coaches bailed in the middle of recruiting season.

          • wabubba67

            Ehh…it’s always recruiting season.

      • mrRef63

        What! Neither of these coaches QUIT in the middle of the season! It’s certainly appropriate to wait until the season is over!

        • Comrade Suge

          No, it’s even worse for Petersen and Carroll, THEY HAD CONTRACTS. Would it have been better if he quit like Don James right before the season?

          • wabubba67

            Gardenhire had a contract, too… it’s called a scholarship.

          • Comrade Suge

            If a scholarship is a contract, why isn’t it called a contract? Is there a penalty if he breaks it?

          • wabubba67

            Technically, a player does sign a contract when signing a scholarship (having been a coach and a player, I’ve seen it from both sides). It’s good for one year…though usually extended for four or five years.

            Yes, there are penalties if a player breaks the contract…quits on team, commits crimes, fails to make adequate progress towards a degree (skips class), cheats academically, even if the athlete suffers a career ending injury (some classless schools will take away the scholarship in subsequent years)…..All are grounds for a university to rescind the scholarship.

          • Comrade Suge

            So if the school can break it pretty much for whatever reason it wants, what is the big deal if he decides to leave? Do you consider Don James the ultimate quitter for doing so before the start of the season? For some reason, this guy is vilified and James is adored (let’s also not forget the actions of his program led to a 2 year bowl ban).

  • Diamond Mask

    I hope this decision doesn’t create a future where his last name also becomes his occupation. Leaving U of W is rash.

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  • Pixdawg13

    Is Darren planning to become a Cuog? That’s the only way this timing makes sense to me.

    • Comrade Suge

      What’s a Cuog?

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  • Ken Tidwejj

    Quitting a team to go to another school where he can get more playing time is understandable but what kind of person quits with the max of four games to go and the possibility of being part of a national champion football team. There has got to be more to the story. It is a decision that will haunt him in years to come and he’ll regret this the rest of his life. The Huskies may be actually a better team without him

  • Paul Harmening

    Obviously, he had quitting on his mind for a while. So…better off without him anywho as he could not have been giving 100% with negativity on the brain. Bottom line, he was selfish. Hope he didn’t let the door hit him in the A$$ on the way out.

  • Comrade Suge

    To those of you ripping the kid. Do you consider Don James a quitter? My goodness, he quit right before the season.

    • art thiel

      Citing anonymous sources, the Seattle Times reported that the dispute was over an unwillingness to take a drug test. I can’t verify, although I can say that such things are occasionally circulated about college and pro athletes when teams seek to discredit the player.

      • Comrade Suge

        Especially when it’s an anonymous source.

        • wabubba67