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Reports: Steve Sarkisian to become USC’s next coach

Washington Huskies Sarkisian reacts before their NCAA football game against the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge AP

USC has its guy.

As first reported by, Washington’s 247 Sports affiliate, Steve Sarkisian will become the program’s next head coach. and the LA Times also confirmed the hiring.

Sarkisian finished up his fifth year at Washington with an 8-4 record, the program’s best mark in a dozen years. He is 34-29 during his five-year tenure. The former Pete Carroll assistant has been credited with growing Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart while at USC from 2001 to 2003 and 2005 to 2008.

He replaces interim coach Ed Orgeron, who replaced the fired Lane Kiffin on Sept. 29. Kiffin was 28-15 in just over four seasons in Los Angeles.

Earlier today, it was reported Sarkisian had interviewed for the USC gig — then he went on a Seattle radio station and characterized his contact with USC as being far more informal.

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44 Responses to “Reports: Steve Sarkisian to become USC’s next coach”
  1. nashvilletrojan says: Dec 2, 2013 2:37 PM

    Welcome back Coach Sark!!!

    Fight On!

  2. thethunderofgunns says: Dec 2, 2013 2:38 PM

    Well Ed Orgeron deserves some looks from other vacancies.

  3. 13datsyuk13 says: Dec 2, 2013 2:38 PM

    Will the UW fans still bark for sark?

  4. hoopsvader says: Dec 2, 2013 2:41 PM

    I guess nobody wanted the job…really Seven Win Sark lol.

  5. allidoiswin55 says: Dec 2, 2013 2:44 PM

    This really sucks for Washington, we will miss sark and his recruiting a lot. I wonder who will become WA next coach

  6. ninersareyesterdaysnews says: Dec 2, 2013 2:44 PM

    I wouldn’t mind seeing UW go get Mike Leach.

  7. bmceh says: Dec 2, 2013 2:49 PM

    Excellent – now UW can finally take the next step whereas USC will hover around 7 wins forever.

  8. jdillydawg says: Dec 2, 2013 2:51 PM

    He was the highest paid state employee in Washington. He just doubled his pay down here, no doubt. Good for him.

    So Cal seems to be more suitable to him than the Northwest.

  9. gatorprof says: Dec 2, 2013 2:55 PM

    I don’t really see how this is a great hire for USC if they view their program as one of the elite programs in the country.

    Was Sark on anyone’s “hot HC list” for this off season?

    I don’t understand USC’s reluctance to wash the stink of Pete Carroll off once and for all.

  10. kanolee says: Dec 2, 2013 3:02 PM

    UW need to go after Gary Pinkel …a Don James Clone and for coach at UW

  11. Deb says: Dec 2, 2013 3:02 PM

    gatorprof, I know it’s not a popular thing to say, but Pete Carroll was a great coach at USC, and he’s doing a great job now in Seattle.

  12. dhalb34 says: Dec 2, 2013 3:03 PM

    I’m a big SC fan, and I hate this hire. Never beat Oregon, lost to Stanford, FUCLA, and ASU this season. SC has the same problem Bama had in the nineties. Bama was always looking for the next Bear Bryant and failed miserably, SC is still looking for another Pete Carroll. Give it up, Carroll is gone, it’s time to move on. Sorry, I hope I eat my words, but c’mon.

  13. realfootballfan says: Dec 2, 2013 3:04 PM

    I think this was done for two reasons. Outside of it being USC, it’s not the greatest job in the world so it doesn’t attract the top tier candidates like Texas, Alabama, etc. Also, this should allow them to keep Ed Orgeron because Sarkisian has a previous relationship with him as he had with Kiffin. That being said, they still could have found someone better than him to take over with this program because for all that he instantly fixes with Kiffin’s sorry off the field style, he’s just as mediocre an on field coach, which at the end of the day is the bottom line.

  14. normtide says: Dec 2, 2013 3:07 PM

    Don’t see the shine for Sark. He may be great, but hasn’t been so far.

  15. 8to80texansblog says: Dec 2, 2013 3:12 PM


    Couldn’t agree more…. I have NEVER understood why schools always feel they need a guy with previous ties to the program. It just baffles me…

  16. raysfan1 says: Dec 2, 2013 3:28 PM

    USC seems to take the university-connection thing to extremes. Their last head coach with no prior ties to USC was Howard Jones when he was hired in 1925.

  17. bobulated says: Dec 2, 2013 3:34 PM

    Can see U-Dub asking UCLA permission to interview former walk-on Jimmy Mora Jr. as well. He expressed interest when he was HC of the Falcons even though he later claimed to be just kidding around.

  18. raysfan1 says: Dec 2, 2013 3:37 PM

    In looking for a new HC, I think UW could look to Beau Baldwin (current HC at Eastern Washington) or Craig Bohl (North Dakota State HC).

    To the commenter above who mentioned Gary Pinkel–no way he leaves Missouri for UW, sorry.

  19. gudy2shoes says: Dec 2, 2013 3:57 PM

    Their crazy if they don’t make a run at Gary Pinkel. Jim Mora would be second choice.

  20. ratsfoiledagain says: Dec 2, 2013 4:00 PM

    USC, welcome to .580 football.

    The first two years he got pass due to Ty’s ineptness. Year 3 there was some progress.

    However; years 4 & 5, with the talent he brought in, big disappointments in my book.

    I like Sark, but he didn’t do in 5 years what other coaches did in 3 – 4 years at other schools.

    Hopefully UW brings in the right guy.

    Not sure if Mora is the right guy or not, but I’m going out on a limb and say UW will contact his agent. Just a guess.

  21. wethog66 says: Dec 2, 2013 4:10 PM

    Looks to be a step up for Sark, but this seems to be a latteral move for USC. Lane Kiffin version 2.0

  22. fpstratton says: Dec 2, 2013 4:15 PM

    I think USC should have taken more time to find a coach, assuming they didn’t want to give the job to Ed Orgeron. I think this assumption was bad: Coach “O”, as Lane Kiffin before him, was plagued by the loss of scholarships the last few years due to the NCAA sanctions. I think it would have been much wiser of USC to stick with Ed Orgeron through the end of next season. If, at that time, they were dissatisfied with the team’s performance, they could have conducted a search which would have possibly included a lot more candidates than they currently have to choose from. Sarkisian will be plagued by the sanctions this upcoming season as well. You can put Nick Saban or Urban Meyer in that same position, and the reality of the sanctions and their effects would be the same. Orgeron was the ideal coach for this “transition” period because the current players respond to him, and he can recruit with the best of them.

  23. fpstratton says: Dec 2, 2013 4:22 PM

    Oh, by the way, all these sportswriters in L.A. that thought Orgeron was hot excretia before the UCLA game changed their tune because USC lost. Fact is, they lost to a better team this year. Orgeron still did a terrific job to get them to 9-4 and salvage what could have been a disastrous season. Shame on sportswriters (and fans) for being so knee-jerk reactionary.

  24. granadafan says: Dec 2, 2013 4:25 PM


  25. titan1971 says: Dec 2, 2013 4:27 PM

    Is this all that we’ve been waiting for?

  26. fsu01 says: Dec 2, 2013 4:29 PM

    I would like to know what the rules are for allowing coaches under contract to move to other schools. I do not understand how schools would allow their coaches under contract to move to another team within the conference. Do schools have to let coaches interview?

  27. gatorprof says: Dec 2, 2013 4:39 PM


    Yes, but he ran a very dirty program that resulted in a vacated national title….hence the word “stink”. He knew what he did and ran from the NCAA to Seattle.

    Yes, Seattle is doing quite well. How many suspensions for violations of the substance abuse policy?

    Anyway, USC stayed in the Carroll coaching tree family, whereas most schools take a bath after probation.

  28. farvite says: Dec 2, 2013 4:59 PM

    “USC has it’s guy”

    … Uh, not really.

    They didn’t nail the prom queen. They got the 3rd runner-up.

  29. uschawk says: Dec 2, 2013 5:06 PM

    Yes, but he ran a very dirty program that resulted in a vacated national title….hence the word “stink”. He knew what he did and ran from the NCAA to Seattle.

    Yes, Seattle is doing quite well. How many suspensions for violations of the substance abuse policy?

    Anyway, USC stayed in the Carroll coaching tree family, whereas most schools take a bath after probation.

    This makes me laugh. I don’t blame Carroll because Reggie Bush and his family were/are greedy a-holes that detonated a bomb in the USC football program. Also in regards to Seattle Carroll coached grown men. You tell them what not to do but he can’t be in their houses with them making sure they don’t smoke a doobie. That is silly.

  30. mogogo1 says: Dec 2, 2013 5:16 PM

    Surprised they didn’t find anybody with a bigger name who’d make a bigger splash. That being said, he’s coached well enough at Washington I think he’ll win a whole lot of games at USC. They certainly won’t underperform like Kiffin’s teams did.

  31. Deb says: Dec 2, 2013 5:27 PM

    @gatorprof …

    USC had to vacate the title because of Bush and the same dirty dog who followed him to New Orleans and helped drag the Saints through the mud. Bush’s running backs coach knew he was being paid–and perhaps Carroll did as well, but that was never established. Did Carroll run to the NFL in advance of the sanctions or just take the opportunity that was presented? Only he knows.

    Can’t defend Carroll on all this because I just don’t know what he knew and how responsible he was. But I do know that while he was at Southern Cal he ran a program aimed at helping kids from the worst neighborhoods get involved in football and find some purpose to their lives. I respect that.

  32. mogogo1 says: Dec 2, 2013 5:36 PM

    They couldn’t interview Jack Del Rio until the Broncos’ were done playing, which probably won’t be until January at the earliest. But I wonder if they didn’t hear from a third party that he wasn’t interested? With how well he filled in during John Fox’s absence, he could well be in line for another head NFL job.

  33. normtide says: Dec 2, 2013 5:51 PM

    Carroll became a good NFL coach after he found a qb. Just like all great NFL coaches these days.

  34. fpstratton says: Dec 2, 2013 5:58 PM

    I’m not a big fan of Jack Del Rio. He never impressed me with his game management or game coaching decisions at Jacksonville. He filled in well for John Fox? Sure, but any of us could too with Peyton Manning, the ultimate coach on the field, at quarterback.

  35. favrelous says: Dec 2, 2013 6:10 PM

    Washington has bad karma coming back to it. When you embrace how Sark went after Cal and Tosh you can not be surprised when it comes back to bite you.

    Washington will take a decade to come back from this. Woof. Woof.

  36. sportsguy3434 says: Dec 2, 2013 7:03 PM

    Not trying to bash the guy, but it doesn’t seem like a good record or body of work. I guess some other prime targets said no.

    FSU01 I don’t think there are any official rules about interviewing coaches unless it is in their contract. It is curteosy to call the AD and ask permission and I guess they don’t have to grant it. The NFL has rules in place.

  37. lowtalker says: Dec 2, 2013 7:07 PM

    So is Waashington going to hire Orgeron?

  38. fsu01 says: Dec 2, 2013 7:20 PM

    Thank you sportsguy,

    I thought that was the procedure it just struck me as odd that they would allow that transfer to occur in conference especially since most schools will grant players the right to transfer so long as they do not transfer in conference.

  39. sportsguy3434 says: Dec 2, 2013 7:35 PM

    It is weird that would happen in conference and it is rare. Would be like LSU hiring a coach from Missouri or something. One note is that ALL of these guys are under multiple year contracts for rwcruiting reasons so any employed coach would be under a multiple year contract.

  40. blackdonnelly says: Dec 2, 2013 10:41 PM

    Coach O got royally boned in this process. I’m not a USC fan but follow the game. It seems pretty obvious that Ed was the better choice. Oh well – he’ll get picked up by another program and subsequently rub USC’s nose into their “mistake”

    I’m beginning to wonder if our boy Haden took a few too many raps to the melon during his career – this doesn’t seem like a smart move, but oh well.

  41. jimsjam33 says: Dec 3, 2013 3:40 AM

    Great hire .

  42. sportfan2 says: Dec 3, 2013 7:45 AM

    Not the job it used to be. Lots a good coaches passed on USC job.

  43. fpstratton says: Dec 3, 2013 11:41 AM

    More and more, this seems like a snap judgment made after a sound beating at the hands of UCLA. Pat Haden came into the Athletic Director’s job as a voice of reason, moderation, and, above all else, balance, determined to ameliorate the overall academics, integrity, and show concern for all sports, not just football. This year, however, Pat Haden the ex-football player has reared his head. The firing of Kiffin and, now, the letting go of Orgeron speaks volumes about the fact that, instead of riding out the NCAA-imposed sanctions storm and realizing that any coach’s hands will be tied in the face of scholarship losses, Haden and the USC brass just can’t wait. They want to win NOW NOW NOW. Haste makes waste, and Sarkisian will be the next guy to fall.

  44. fpstratton says: Dec 3, 2013 1:38 PM

    I understand that Lane Kiffin had his personality drawbacks and marketed himself and the team poorly at times, but people who fail to take into proper consideration the fact that he was working with a skeleton crew of players the last few years are sadly mistaken if they think changing coaches is going to cure these ills. Kiffin and USC actually overachieved two years ago when they upset the Ducks in Oregon and were the pre-season # 1 in Barkley’s senior year. They then underperformed last year, incurring the wrath of USC fans and media. Kiffin actually did a lot of good things for the program in a time of extreme turmoil and uncertainty, and Orgeron benefited from some of that in doing an outstanding coaching job this past season. USC lacks depth, and with mounting injuries, it’s a miracle they have performed as well as they have. Steve Sarkisian? A good coach, but not a game changer. Few could be until all the sanctions expire.

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