The 65-day search for a head coach that started on September 29th with the removal of Lane Kiffin culminated with Athletic Director Pat Haden announcing that former University of Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian will be the 23rd Head Coach is school history. Sarkisian had three stints at USC as an assistant coach under Pete Carroll.
Several people thought that USC would be swinging for the fences in search of a big name coach and the name Steve Sarkisian feels more like a double to many. Haden and USC President Max Nikias did their due diligence and went through an exhaustive search to find the guy to lead the football program into the future, but only offered the job to Sarkisian. Sarkisian may not have been USC's first choice. We can not forget that several people loudly complained and denounced the hiring of Pete Carroll.
There are some that felt that with USC staying in the family and hiring Sarkisian, good friends with Lane Kiffin that the school was essentially getting the same person a.k.a. Lane Kiffin 2.0 which couldn't be further from the truth. In five-years Sarkisian posted a 34-29 mark and turned around a moribund University of Washington program and returned the Huskies to respectability.
Despite University of Washington Athletic Director Scott Woodward feeling blindsided Sarkisian left the UW football program in better condition today than before. Steve Sarkisian is from Torrance, knows the high school coach's in the area, is an excellent recruiter and does a solid job developing players. Sarkisian is the right man for the job and gives USC the chance to make a seamless transition.
Sarkisian has to weather the first two years dealing with the NCAA sanctions and less recruits, beating everyone on the schedule with special emphasis on beating UCLA, Oregon and Notre Dame. If everything goes as planned he could be the guy that brings USC back competing for championships. Interim head coach Ed Orgeron, affectionately known as coach O, was one of those candidates outraged by Pat Haden's decision and bolted to become a head coach at another school.
It was an emotional day at the school for the players and students. Although Orgeron turned around what became a dark program, won over and united the players, school, alumni, fan base and went 6-2 disappointment is understandable, but outrage is not. Coach O brought the fun back, but everyone always likes the substitute teacher.
The job Orgeron and the entire coaching staff did was admirable two important facts linger 1) Ed Orgeron was not the big name the school was after 2) Coach O was 0-2 against rivals Notre Dame and UCLA. By all accounts coach O was loyal to the kids, but his outrage at not being named the head coach sounds a lot like there was too much ego, pride and vanity involved. It would have been a great opportunity for coach O to take a deep breath and stay with the program as one of the highest paid assistants in college football.
Jeff Little is the host of "The Locker Room" a daily sports talk radio show based out of Los Angeles 6-8 pm PST www.sportsjourney.com Follow on twitter @JeffLittle32, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+