Very few coaching changes go smoothly.
As both the coach and the institution are trying to hide their true intentions, feelings get hurt, relationships get damaged and there are regrets, oh so many regrets.
Steve Sarkisian isn’t immune to this.
During Pac-12 media days on Wednesday, Sarkisian said his biggest regret in leaving Washington for USC was doing a radio interview the morning he left and denying to the host that he was switching schools.
“You know, it’s unfortunate. I did that Monday morning radio show with Mitch (Levy) every Monday morning after a game. And honestly, in hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have done that interview that morning,” Sarkisian said. “But I had committed to the interview. And I did the interview. There was nothing done, I hadn’t accepted the job at USC yet. Hindsight’s 20/20 in those moments. I probably should have stayed out of interviews and stayed away from cameras. But I did it. I tried to handle it to the best of my ability.
“So looking back, probably the biggest mistake was just going on-air. And Mitch did his job. I’m not upset with Mitch at all. I have a great deal of respect for Mitch. He did his job. I tried to answer the questions as best I could. Unfortunately it didn’t come out the best way I would have liked, but that’s life.”
The way things transpired, with Sarkisian telling his Washington players of his departure just hours later and then jumping on a plane to Los Angeles, didn’t exactly paint the best picture, especially since USC's previous coach, Lane Kiffin, was hired in a clandestine way.
But Sarkisian said in the months since leaving it hasn’t all been bad. Washington players, who came home to the Los Angeles area for the summer, visited the USC offices to see their former coach. He said he’s tried to explain why he left and he doesn’t really know how most of his former players feel about it.
However, Sarkisian made a valid point that breaking up is never easy. He likened his leaving Washington to breaking up with a girlfriend, a weird, but appropriate analogy.
“I don’t think it’s ever easy. I don’t know if you guys have ever had girlfriends, but when you break up with your girlfriend it’s never easy,” Sarkisian said. “It’s always hard and you do it the best way you know how and you just try to be up-front and honest. You try not to disrespect one school or another school or some kids or another kid. In a perfect world I wish I would have gotten to our players sooner so they didn’t have to hear it from anybody else.
“But at the end of the day I got that opportunity to get up in front of them and address them so they knew exactly where I was coming from. That’s all you can ask for as a coach.”
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