USC chooses Sarkisian as its head coach

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


The University of Southern California hired Washington's Steve Sarkisian as its new head football coach, Trojans athletic director Pat Haden announced Monday.
Sarkisian returns to a school that he left in 2009 to take the head coaching job at Washington. In five seasons with the Huskies, he compiled a 34-29 overall record and a 24-21 mark in the Pac-12. Washington (8-4) finished third in the Pac-12 North this season.
"We are delighted to welcome Steve Sarkisian back to the Trojan Family," said Haden in a statement. "We conducted a very exhaustive and thorough search, pinpointing about 20 candidates and interviewing five of them. We kept coming back to Sark. He is the only one who was offered the job. I believe in my gut that he is the right coach for USC at this time."
Sarkisian interviewed with USC this past weekend, ESPN reported.
Sarkisian said in a statement, "I am extremely excited to be coming home to USC and for the opportunity that USC presents to win championships. I can't wait to get started."
Boise State's Chris Petersen and Vanderbilt's James Franklin were among the leading candidates for the position, according to reports, but CBSSports.com reported Monday that Petersen withdrew his name from consideration before Sarkisian landed the job.
Upon learning the news of Sarkisian's hiring, USC interim coach Ed Orgeron resigned and will not be with the Trojans for their bowl game, according to ESPN.com. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton is expected to assume Orgeron's duties until Sarkisian comes on board.
ESPN reported that Orgeron was outraged that he was passed over for the permanent head coaching post with the Trojans. He was offered a raise and a chance to stay with the program as an assistant, but decided to leave.
Orgeron took over when the Trojans were 3-2 overall, 0-2 in the Pac-12, and he led them to six consecutive Pac-12 wins surrounding a loss to Notre Dame. USC's conference winning streak ended with a 35-14 loss to UCLA on Saturday.
Orgeron replaced Lane Kiffin, who lost seven of his final 11 games at USC and went 25-18 during his three-plus-year tenure.
"Ed is one of the greatest Trojans ever and we thank him for all he has done for the program," said Haden. "He and I had a very open and frank discussion. He understandably was disappointed when I told him we were going in a different direction. We talked about the possibility of him remaining at USC, but Ed wants to be a head coach and I am supportive of that. I told him I will do whatever I can to help him in that pursuit."
The Trojans were 23rd in the BCS standings before the loss to the rival Bruins knocked them out of the top 25.
Sarkisian, 39, was an assistant for seven seasons at USC from 2001 to 2003 and from 2005 to 2008. While he served as offensive coordinator on former coach Pete Carroll's staff, the Trojans went 22-3.
Petersen, 47, boasts a 92-12 record over eight seasons at Boise State, guiding the team to wins in the Fiesta Bowl following the 2006 and 2009 seasons. The Broncos went 8-4 overall this year, 6-2 in the Mountain West Conference.
Franklin, 41, has a 23-15 record in three seasons at Vanderbilt. The Commodores went 8-4 this season, 4-4 in the ultracompetitive Southeastern Conference.