December 4, 2008

Washington hires USC coordinator Sarkisian

Rivals.com learned Thursday night that USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will be the next coach at Washington.

According to a source close to Sarkisian, the USC aide will replace Tyrone Willingham with the winless Huskies, who end their season Saturday with a game against California.

With a game against cross-town rival UCLA this weekend, Sarkisian said he has not formally accepted the post at Washington.

"I have interviewed with Washington. They've interviewed a lot of people," he said in a press release. "I'm one of some number of candidates, which I'm honored to be. Nothing has been finalized in any way, shape, or form.

"There's been some communication and some facets, but nothing has been put down in writing one way or the other. As far as I am concerned, I'm a candidate for the job, and I'm honored to be one. I think it's a great job. It's one that's a great program in the Pac-10 and in the country. As of right now, Thursday night, my focus is on winning a Pac-10 championship on Saturday."

Sarkisian, 34, has been at USC since 2005. He was quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders in 2004. Before that, Sarkisian a former BYU quarterback was an assistant for the Trojans from 2001-2003, working with quarterbacks.

Others who interviewed for the Washington job are Fresno State coach Pat Hill, Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Haywood and Texas Tech coach Mike Leach.

Sarkisian is the second former USC offensive coordinator to get a head-coaching job this week. Tennessee announced the hiring of Lane Kiffin, Sarkisian's predecessor in the role at USC, on Monday.

Washington's decision leaves three "Big Six" conference coaching jobs open Auburn, Mississippi State and Syracuse.

Tom Dienhart is the national senior writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dienhart@yahoo-inc.com.



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