Posted December 03, 2013

Washington’s Steve Sarkisian accepts USC head coaching job

Steve Sarkisian, USC Trojans, Washington Huskies
Steve Sarkisian went 34-29 in five seasons at Washington, including four straight trips to a bowl game.

In five years at Washington, Steve Sarkisian went 34-29, and led the team to four straight bowls. (Tom Hauck/AP)

Washington coach Steve Sarkisian has accepted the coaching job at USC, RealDawg.com reports. ESPN’s Joe Schad confirmed the report.

Sarkisian replaces Trojans interim coach Ed Orgeron, who took over in September after athletic director Pat Haden fired Lane Kiffin following USC’s 3-2 start.

ESPN’s Brett McMurphy reported Monday that Sarkisian had interviewed for the Trojans job. But Sarkisian denied that an official interview took place.

Sarkisian spent six seasons as an assistant with USC, first from 2001 to ’03, and later from ’05 to ’08. When he took the job in Seattle after the ’08 season, the Huskies were coming off the first 0-12 campaign in Pac-10 history. Former Washington coach Tyrone Willingham went 11-37 in four seasons. Sarkisian, on the other hand, went 34-29 (24-21 in the Pac-12) in five seasons. The Huskies are headed to their fourth straight bowl game.

Orgeron led the Trojans to a 9-4 record, including an upset of No. 4 Stanford on Nov. 16. Haden said last month that fans had expressed a huge amount of support for Orgeron to become USC’s next head coach.

CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman reports that Sarkisian had a lot of support from people close to Haden.

Sarkisian beat out a number of other coaches, including Vanderbilt’s James Franklin, Boise State’s Chris Petersen and Denver Broncos’ interim coach Jack Del Rio, who was an All-America linebacker for the Trojans in 1984. Vanderbilt denied that Franklin had ever been contacted about the job, while Petersen reportedly withdrew his name from consideration earlier this week. Reports surfaced last month that Del Rio had interviewed with USC during the Broncos’ bye week.

Sources told Chris Huston of NBCSports.com that Sarkisian was on Haden’s radar all along.

Sarkisian has a history with USC, but many question whether he is a championship-caliber coach. He has never won more than eight games in a season at Washington, and the Huskies have lost four conference games in each of the last four years. Sarkisian did a remarkable job rebuilding the program, but the expectations for the Trojans go beyond rebuilding.

In Sarkisian, USC has hired yet another coach with connections to the spectacularly successful Pete Carroll era. Kiffin could not replicate Carroll’s winning ways. The next few seasons will show whether Sarkisian can once again make the Trojans into a national power.

42 comments
LukeSykwalker
LukeSykwalker

Terrible hire by Haden once again.....they have a better chance to win with Orgeron.... another 5 years of mediocrity for the Trojans.

dandogwood
dandogwood

Safe hire for USC. Franklin might have been too volatile for LA.  Jack Rio too dumb.

Cool
Cool

Like it or not Sark inherited a team that Tyrone Willingham recruited.  Mind you that if Willingham would have been allowed to actually work with "his" recruits he might have attained the same results the following year, but he wasn't given the chance (right or wrong) .  Sark was just beginning to work with his own recruits and the result was mediocre to say the least.  Recruiting is a big part of being head coach and right now it doesn't appear that he had that good of results.  USC will be easier to recruit for but I have doubts about his decision making.

6marK6
6marK6

This was a horrible hire. USC was rushed and fell back on a guy that was probably their fifth option. Sarkisian can recruit, OK, but he is a horrible game manager and coach. Washington has underachieved for three straight years under him. SC does not need a recruiter, school recruits itself, it needs someone that can coach. Kiffin could recruit. 

BobRayTalbot
BobRayTalbot

Well, maybe now we can all settle down and watch some good football.  That is, as soon as Texas gets rid of Mack Brown and hires Nick Saban...Oh, wait, not Saban, he lost a game. Malzahn, that's who we need Gus Malzahn!  He will win those NC's!  Yeah!

NeoSmith
NeoSmith

USC should have hired a better coach instead of reaching for the Pete Carroll glory days.  Didn't Carroll get USC into sanctions troubles?!  Sarkisian couldn't win at Washington, same as Lame couldn't win at Tennessee.  It is asking for the same result given the two similarities.  In about 2-3 years, USC will be looking for a new coach.  What a unremarkable hire by USC, LOLX. 

Hendo
Hendo

How did he rebuild that program? It seems like,during his tenure, their signature win was against Boise State this year. I hope USC alums are happy'

ReedWright
ReedWright

With or without Orgeron, Sark will be able to recruit the best players in California, including those at the JC level.  Mora will be no match when it comes to recruiting in CA.  Also, USC standards are much lower when it comes to academic eligibility requirements.  Although I'm a diehard UCLA supporter, USC couldn't have hired a better coach.  You buttheads making negative comments about Sark will come to appreciate him.  You should be smiling with this hire instead of making such idiotic comments.

Oldtimeduffer
Oldtimeduffer

Husky graduate to Sarkesian:  goodbye and good riddance you ugrateful cur.  

Helzyeah1
Helzyeah1

This could easily go either way. Don't forget, Sarkisian's Huskies beat Carroll's Trojans. I supported Orgeron getting the job, but come on - you don't get a promotion when you lose both of your big rivalry games.

MrArlington
MrArlington

Pac 12 football continues to be a joke. Crap in and crap out.

Wesley11
Wesley11

You gotta admit, it would be funny if Washington hired Orgeron to replace Sarkisian and he spends the next decade routinely thumping USC every single year.

bornindetroit
bornindetroit

Meh. Unremarkable. A Brady Hoke type hire at Michigan. A hire that may finally bring Haden down. That guy seems clueless. Reminds me of Matt Millen in competency.

buzzman69
buzzman69

Great. SC gets a .500 coach and pisses off their best recruiter and the guy who should have been head coach. Now Cal or AZ or Colorado can hire Orgeron and SC can recruit against him for the next decade. What a stupid move. I've lost all faith in Haden.

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

good luck with this guy. lane was USC ,too and that didn't work out well.  At least Ed had some fire with the players.  See how many bolt now.

MatthewMinor
MatthewMinor

Now the UW will probably need to replace Tosh Lupoi and Justin Wilcox. Sark was no Don James, but he did turn the football program around from the Tyrone Willingham era. At least we have a few months to look for a new coach. I want Mora, but it's hard to see him leaving UCLA after the success he has had.

pcboss55
pcboss55

Does that mean Orgeron will be named Washington's head coach?

EnashWaca
EnashWaca

Nobody liked Carrol when he was hired, either.

CarlLegg
CarlLegg

"Haden just hired Kiffin's twin brother. "

hahaha. Sad and true. Wrong move. Orgeron should have been given the contract.

Cool
Cool

I think it is safe to say that Haden hates USC football.  LOL

fiasco56
fiasco56

Haden is an idiot!  It's one thing to want a signature coach, but Orgeron proved himself to be a player's coach, and his success warranted an opportunity to carry on.

jho789
jho789

Haden just hired Kiffin's twin brother.  Wow... Bad... bad... bad. 

mikalrod
mikalrod

His main target was one of mediocrity? Amazingly inept of you Haden. I've been a Trojan fan for 52 years...but you're making it hard

Craig9
Craig9

Bad hire by SC. Should've gone harder after Petersen or tried to land Franklin. This hire reeks of familiarity.

CGGymDog
CGGymDog

I hope he fails. Gloriously. 

Steve Phillips
Steve Phillips

Bad decision. Oregon deserved the opportunity after saving the Trojans season! BS for Sark to leave Washington at this time of the season regardless of who reached out to whom!

DavidHarte
DavidHarte

Once again college athletes get screwed.  What will he tell his UW recruits?  Thanks for the memories?

College football is a cesspool (perhaps only topped by college basketball, though at least no one there is getting brain damage…).

muser
muser

This was once an elite job. 

espnrefugee0218
espnrefugee0218

hopefully hes as a good at cheating as the previous regimes 

JNagy007
JNagy007

@NeoSmith 

Who should they have picked up? Really who? Do you think Gruden is leaving the press box? Del Rio had a shot in Denver and couldn't handle the heat there. Sark will do a great job, he is the same coach that turned a 0-12 Washington team around being bowl worthy! With better athletes, more recruiting prowless, Sark will be just fine, USC will rise again! Fight On! 

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@Oldtimeduffer To Husky grad:  Off your high horse.  People change jobs every day.  You know, like the guy that will quit his current job to become the coach at UW.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@buzzman69  When you were yelling for Lane Kiffin to be fired, why were you not also yelling for Ed Orgeron to get the job?   If he is such a good coach, why did it take a few low pressure wins for you guys to realize it?

Wesley11
Wesley11

@mikalrodWhat are you talking about? Imagine Memorial Coliseum filled with the chants at the end of the season of "Five and Four! Five and Four!"

Pretty soon you'll go from the middle of the pack team to the center of the group squad.

brucem
brucem

@Craig9 Why did Petersen take his name out of the running?

ReedWright
ReedWright

@DavidHarte Your comment is so weak.  Every time a coach is fired or leaves after his contract has expired or he's able to opt out, 100% of the time, recruits are left in the cold.  It happens every single time when there is a coaching change.  Nothing new.  That's life in college sports.