MONROE, Wash. - Jim Lambright, the former University of Washington football coach who also was defensive coordinator during the team's 1991 national championship, failed to show up for his arraignment today.
The judge issued a warrant for his arrest, but said he would hold it until next week as long as Lambright shows up either Monday or Tuesday.
Lambright, 72, was charged a few weeks ago with assaulting his granddaughter. His wife of 34 years told the deputy investigating the assault that he suffers from dementia and “explosive disorder," and the condition is deteriorating.
However, Lambright’s attorney denied the missed court appearance Wednesday was anything but a scheduling snafu. KIRO 7 tracked down Lambright at his home and he said the same thing, denying an mental health issues played a role.
Lambright’s wife, who told police she witnessed her husband’s alleged assault on their granddaughter, told police that the former coach “has consistently pushed and shoved her over the course of their marriage,” according to a probable cause document. Lambright’s wife “stated that she is truly a battered wife, both physically and verbally.”
When a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy went to Lambright’s home, the former coach told the deputy that he had two sons in the house.
His granddaughters often stop by to see their parents, and Lambright was allegedly frustrated with their attitude and did not see their reason for visiting often.
“Lambright stated he was sick of their attitude, and he asked his granddaughter to leave,” the deputy wrote in the probable cause document. “Lambright stated that she had refused. Lambright stated that he had grabbed his granddaughter by the arms to force her out of the residence. He stated that she was not harmed, and did not understand why we were being called.”
Lambright’s granddaughter told the deputy that her grandfather “had suddenly exploded on her after she had visited with her father,” according to the probable cause document. The 23-year-old granddaughter said Lambright “grabbed her by the arms and pulled her down to the kitchen floor. He then forcibly tried to drag her out of the house by clutching her right ankle. Lambright only managed to drag her 5 feet before she struggled free and ran outside to call 911.”
Follow this link to read the public court documents in Lambright's case.
KIRO 7 reporter Graham Johnson talked to Lambright at his home Wednesday afternoon, but the former coach did not comment about the case in detail.
An Everett native, Lambright was a UW player and two-time letter winner, graduating in 1965. He earned all-conference honors for the Huskies in 1964 and also was the team’s Guy Flaherty Award winner as a senior.
Lambright started as a UW football coach in 1969 as an assistant for Jim Owens. He remained under Don James when James took over in 1975. Lambright spent 16 years as defensive coordinator, known for developing UW’s eight-man defensive front. He also was the assistant head coach form 1987-92.
He took over as head coach in 1992 following the Billy Joe Hobert scandal that led to the James’ resignation and NCAA sanctions for the UW.
During Lambright’s six-year tenure as head coach, the Huskies went 44-25-1 with a Pac-10 record of 31-16-1. He won 30 games in his first four years as head coach – more than any of his predecessors.
Lambright was the sixth UW coach to lead his team to a bowl berth with a trip to the Sun Bowl in 1995. His teams also went to the 1996 Holiday Bowl, won the 1997 Aloha Bowl and went to the 1998 Oahu Bowl.