Washington’s Steve Sarkisian has accepted the Southern California coaching job, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.
The person spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made by either school.
Sarkisian is a former USC assistant under Pete Carroll and has been at Washington for five seasons.
He’ll be the permanent replacement for Lane Kiffin, who was fired after five games this season and replaced on an interim basis by Ed Orgeron. The Trojans went 6-2 under Orgeron.
Orgeron’s success had some USC supporters calling on athletic director Pat Haden to give him the job permanently. Instead, Haden went outside the current staff, but to another coach with USC ties.
Kiffin and Sarkisian are friends and at one time were co-offensive coordinators for Carroll during the late stages of USC’s dominant run during the 2000s.
Sarkisian was 34-29 at Washington in five seasons after inheriting a program coming off the first 0-12 record in school history under coach Tyrone Willingham.
After going 5-7 in his first season, Sarkisian took the Huskies to a bowl game each of the next four seasons, but they were stuck on seven wins for three years.
The Huskies finished this regular season 8-4, with a victory over Washington State in last Friday’s Apple Cup.
Sarkisian said after Friday’s victory that he was thankful he no longer had to answer questions about the seven-win barrier.
“We’re a better team today that we were a year ago, and a year ago we were a better team than a year before that,” Sarkisian said after the 27-17 victory. “Sometimes games go the way they go and you don’t get the call or you don’t get the catch or you make the one bad call as a coach. But that doesn’t mean you’re not a good football team or you aren’t a better team than you were a year before.”
Sarkisian arrived in Seattle trumpeting that he would help Washington return to the elite of the Pac-12. The Huskies at least got back to respectability, but their attempts at finally joining the upper echelon of the conference this season were turned back in losses to Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State. He never defeated the Ducks in his tenure, an issue that stuck with Washington fans tired of getting beaten up by their neighbors to the south.
Sarkisian is the first Washington coach to voluntarily leave for another position since Darrell Royal in 1956 when he departed for Texas. Royal was at Washington for one season.
AP Sports Writer Tim Booth in Seattle contributed to this report.
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