Monday, January 11, 2010
No contact from USC, Sarkisian says
SEATTLE -- Steve Sarkisian appears perfectly content in the Pacific Northwest.
Despite rumors in Los Angeles that Sarkisian might be a potential successor to Pete Carroll at Southern California, the Washington coach says he's has not heard from the Trojans.
In a text message to The Associated Press late Sunday night, Sarkisian said USC had not contacted him about their coaching vacancy that became official when Carroll accepted the head job with the Seattle Seahawks on Monday morning.
Washington athletic director Scott Woodward said Monday night he also hadn't been told of anyone contacting Sarkisian.
Last Friday, Sarkisian said he'd be surprised if Carroll made the jump to the NFL.
But he added that it "would be fun" if the duo were head coaches in the same town.
Now they are.
Drawing the conclusion that Sarkisian would be on USC's list is easy. He spent seven seasons there as an assistant and only 13 months ago left the Trojans to become the head man at Washington. Sarkisian started at USC in 2001 as an offensive assistant, moved up to quarterbacks coach and then left for one season to join the Oakland Raiders before returning to the Trojans in 2005 as assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach.
In 2007, Sarkisian was promoted to offensive coordinator.
Sarkisian's first attempt at being a head coach was widely considered a success. Sarkisian turned a team riding a 15-game losing streak into a 5-7 squad this season.
Washington would have likely been a bowl team if not for a trio of late losses to Arizona State, Notre Dame and UCLA, and the Huskies closed the season with impressive wins over Washington State and California.
Quarterback Jake Locker also bypassed a chance to become a high first-round draft pick to return to Washington for his senior season and another year under Sarkisian's instruction.
Sarkisian signed a five-year contract when he was hired by the Huskies that paid him $1.75 million for 2009 and escalates to $2.3 million in 2013, the final year of the deal. If Sarkisian were to leave for another school at this point, he would have to repay Washington $2.5 million.
Woodward said Sarkisian hasn't made any overtures about having his deal re-examined after a positive first season with the Huskies, but he has asked about helping lock up support staff and assistants that could be targeted by other programs.
"He's more concerned in us investing in the program," Woodward said.