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, going 34-29 in Seattle.
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, with losses to rivals Notre Dame and UCLA.
“Coach O can never be replaced ! That’s all I’m gonna say,” USC safety Su’a Cravens posted on his Twitter account.
There was speculation and reports that USC had been interested in Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and Boise State’s Chris Petersen. Instead, Haden went outside the current staff, but to another coach with USC ties.
“I’m on board Sark was very close to getting me to come with him to U Dub,” USC freshman tailback Justin Davis posted on his Twitter account.
Sarkisian will take over one of the crown jewel programs in college football. USC has won five AP national championships, including two under Carroll. But the Trojans haven’t been the same since they were slammed by sanctions for NCAA violations related to Reggie Bush receiving improper benefits.
USC was banned from a bowl for two years and docked 30 scholarships over three years. Next year will be the final season that USC will be working with scholarship sanctions. The Trojans can give out no more than 15 scholarships in their next signing class and can have no more than 75 scholarship players on their roster next season.
USC is 43-21 since 2009, Carroll’s last season, and the last season before the NCAA sanctioned the program. Carroll skipped to the NFL and Kiffin was hired away from Tennessee by former athletic director Mike Garrett in 2010.
Sarkisian inherited a Washington 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.