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Sarkisian officially announced as new USC coach

By Brent Stecker

Steve Sarkisian has officially been announced as USC’s new football coach after five years in charge of the University of Washington football program.

The hiring was announced by USC athletic director Pat Haden in a press release on USC’s website Monday afternoon. Sarkisian and Haden will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. Tuesday on the USC campus.

sark gone

Steve Sarkisian has officially left Washington after five seasons to coach USC, where he was an assistant coach for seven seasons in the 2000s. (AP)

Sarkisian, who will not return to coach the Huskies in their upcoming bowl game to finish the 2013 season, showed appreciation to Washington for giving him a chance in 2009.

“First, I’d like to thank the University of Washington and athletic director Scott Woodward for the opportunity they gave me five years ago,” Sarkisian said in the release. “I believe the Husky program is in a better place now than when we arrived, and I am proud and thankful of the players for that.

“That said, 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.”

UW also released a statement Monday afternoon.

“On behalf of the University of Washington, I want to thank Steve Sarkisian for the past five years of service to our institution,” Woodward said. “Steve has led the rebuilding of our program to new heights and we are in a much better position than when he arrived. I am happy for Steve and his family as they can return home and I wish them the best of luck in the future.”

Woodward added that Washington is wasting no time finding a new head coach.

“The search for Steve’s successor has already begun. I will work hard in the coming days to find the absolute best fit for the University of Washington but I will not comment on or speculate about the process. We have tremendous tradition, fan base and a world-class institution, and I am confident we will find the right man. We will compete for Pac-12 and national championships and we will do so with class, integrity, sportsmanship and a commitment to our student-athletes. That promise is at the forefront of my mind as I embark on finding our next football coach.”

Sarkisian spent seven seasons as an assistant coach under Pete Carroll at USC in the 2000s, and is a native of nearby Torrance, Calif.

It is unknown whether Sarkisian will take his Washington coaching staff with him to USC. Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox is believed to be a candidate to replace him as the Huskies head coach, but a report indicates he plans to follow Sarkisian to USC.

Woodward reportedly held a meeting Monday afternoon at Husky Stadium with the football team to address Sarkisian’s departure. Quarterback Keith Price told reporters outside the stadium that Sarkisian said he is going to USC for family reasons, according to Chris Daniels of King 5 TV.

USC has been coached on an interim basis by Ed Orgeron since Lane Kiffin was fired Sept. 28 after a loss to Arizona State.

Orgeron will leave USC to pursue other coaching opportunities, the press release said.