Steve Sarkisian during his first tenure at USC, 2008.
March 8, 1974 |
|El Camino (JC)
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|El Camino (QB)
Oakland Raiders (QB)
|Head coaching record|
College Football Data Warehouse
|Accomplishments and honors|
Sammy Baugh Trophy (1996)
Stephen Ambrose "Steve" Sarkisian (born March 8, 1974) is an American football coach and former player. He is currently the head football coach at the University of Southern California. He served as the head football coach of the University of Washington from 2009 to 2013. Sarkisian played college football as a quarterback at Brigham Young University (BYU) and professionally with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League (CFL).
- 1 Playing career
- 2 Coaching career
- 3 Personal life and family
- 4 Sarkisian's running backs
- 5 NFL players coached
- 6 Head coaching record
- 7 References
- 8 External links
USC and El Camino College
After a standout baseball and football career at West High School in Torrance, California, Sarkisian's size (6', 165 lb) did not attract any college football offers. He began his collegiate athletic career in 1992 at USC as a non-scholarship middle infielder on the Trojans baseball team. He struggled playing NCAA Division I baseball and transferred after a semester to El Camino College, a two-year community college adjacent to his hometown Torrance, where he played shortstop. At the urging of El Camino head football coach John Featherstone, one of his instructors, Sarkisian restarted his football career. As a redshirt freshman in 1993, Sarkisian earned All-Mission Conference honors. In his sophomore season, he was named a junior college All-American after setting a national junior college record by completing 72.4 percent of his passes.
Brigham Young University
As a junior, Sarkisian transferred to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, for the 1995 season. He was recruited by DeWayne Walker, then an assistant coach for the BYU Cougars. Although Kansas State and Washington State showed interest, Sarkisian chose BYU primarily because it was viewed as his best opportunity to play immediately at the Division I-A level as a transferring redshirt junior. The previous starting quarterback, John Walsh, was also from Torrance and a friend of Sarkisian. Walsh left school a year early to enter the 1995 NFL Draft, creating a void in the depth chart; Sarkisian accepted a scholarship with BYU in December 1994.
At BYU, Sarkisian was coached by offensive coordinator Norm Chow under head coach Lavell Edwards. As a junior, Sarkisian passed for 3,437 yards and 20 touchdowns, earning All-Western Athletic Conference honors. Sarkisian finished the season in spectacular fashion, completing 31 of 34 passes for 399 yards and three touchdowns in BYU's 45–28 victory over Fresno State. His completion percentage in the game (91.2 percent) set an NCAA record.
As a senior, Sarkisian opened BYU's 1996 season by passing for 536 yards and six touchdowns in the Cougars' 41–37 upset victory over Texas A&M in the Pigskin Classic. The 536 yards passing were the most ever by a player against Texas A&M. Sarkisian finished the game with a 46-yard touchdown pass to K. O. Kealaluhi to seal the victory.
BYU finished the regular season with a 13–1 record, defeating Wyoming, 28–25, in the WAC Championship Game. Sarkisian passed for 4,027 yards and 33 touchdowns during the regular season. His 173.6 passer rating led the entire NCAA. For his efforts, he was named WAC Offensive Player of the Year and a second-team All-American. Sarkisian was also awarded the Sammy Baugh Trophy as the nation's top passer, making him the seventh BYU quarterback to win the honor. He was also featured on the cover of TV Guide in December 1996. BYU finished the season with 19–15 win over Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl Classic. Sarkisian threw a pair of touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to lead the Cougars to a come-from-behind victory. BYU finished the season with a 14–1 record and ranked fifth in the nation in both the AP Poll and Coaches' Poll. The Cougars became the first Division I-A team in NCAA history to win 14 games in a single season. Sarkisian's 162.0 career passing efficiency rating is third on the all-time NCAA list.
Canadian Football League
Sarkisian played professionally for three seasons, 1997 to 1999, for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League (CFL). He was a starter in the 1999 season, finishing with 16 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions. His team finished with a dismal 3–15 record, prompting Sarkisian to end his playing career.
El Camino College
Sarkisian's coaching career began in 2000 when he returned to El Camino College as its quarterbacks coach.
USC and Oakland Raiders
The following season, Sarkisian joined his former coach, Norm Chow, at USC. Chow was hired as USC's offensive coordinator by new head coach Pete Carroll. Sarkisian worked as an offensive assistant in 2001 and then as quarterbacks coach in 2002 and 2003. In 2004, Sarkisian moved to the professional ranks as quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders of the NFL. Oakland compiled more than 4,000 passing yards, ranking eighth out of 32 NFL teams in passing yardage. Sarkisian returned to USC for the 2005 season with the title of assistant head coach added to his duties as quarterbacks coach. In January 2007, Sarkisian interviewed with the Raiders for their vacant head coaching position, but pulled himself out of the running to stay at USC. Sarkisian was named to replace Lane Kiffin as USC's offensive coordinator when Kiffin took the head coaching job with the Raiders.
The University of Washington introduced Sarkisian as its 23rd head football coach during a press conference in the Don James Center at Husky Stadium on December 8, 2008. Sarkisian signed a contract that paid him $1.75 million in 2009, with a salary increasing to $2.3 million by 2013. Down in Los Angeles, John Morton succeeded Sarkisian as offensive coordinator at USC.
In Sarkisian's first year as head coach in 2009, Washington scored a huge upset of Sarkisian's former team, defeating #3 USC 16–13 with a last second field goal. Washington then lost six of their next seven games, but finished the season in strong fashion, dominating rival Washington State, 30–0, to claim the Apple Cup, and scoring another upset with a rout of #19 California, 42–10. Washington finished the year with a 5–7 record, a dramatic improvement over the previous season, a winless 0–12.
With Pete Carroll's departure from USC to coach the Seattle Seahawks on January 9, 2010, Sarkisian was discussed in the media as a potential replacement, but Sarkisian stated that he had not received an offer to become head coach of the Trojans. Despite his public comments, Sarkisian was still considered a top candidate for the position by USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett. However, Sarkisian expressed reservations about leaving Washington after one year, and decided not to pursue the position. Ultimately, Lane Kiffin was hired for the position.
In his second season as head coach of Washington, the Huskies went 6–6 in 2010. The Huskies defeated USC again with a game-ending field goal, this time in Los Angeles. At mid-season, UW had alternated losses and wins and was 3–3, then were outscored 138–30 in the next three games, all losses against Arizona, Stanford, and Oregon. They fell to 3–6, but finished the year on a high note with three consecutive wins and were bowl eligible for the first time since the 2002 season. The Huskies concluded the season with a stunning 19–7 victory over #18 Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl, avenging a 56–21 blowout home loss to the Huskers in September. It was their first winning season in nine years.
With star quarterback Jake Locker departing to the NFL, many expected the Huskies to regress in the 2011 season, Sarkisian's third. The Huskies started out a surprising 6–2 and were undefeated in conference play at the halfway point of the season. At one point, they were ranked in all major polls for the first time during his short tenure. Unfortunately the rest of their season was a different story: they went 1-3 in their remaining conference games, with blowout defeats to Oregon, USC, and Oregon State. The Huskies subsequently lost in the Alamo Bowl to Baylor, 67–56, to finish 7–6 on the season.
In 2012, the Washington Huskies finished 7-6 yet again following a 26-28 loss to Boise St in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas. As his previous campaigns had gone, Sarkisian's 2012 Washington team defeated most of the lower-level Pac-12 teams but were blown out by the upper-level ones.
Sarkisian's original contract in 2009 was for five years and paid $1.75 million in guaranteed money for the first year, rising to $2.0 million in 2011 and $2.3 million in 2013. Following the 2010 season and bowl victory, he signed a new five-year contract that paid $2.25 million in guaranteed money in 2011, rising to $2.85 million in 2015.
Back to USC
On December 2, 2013, Sarkisian chose to return to USC, accepting the head coaching position.
Notably, Sarkisian was ranked #5 in the country for top overpaid coaches. 
Personal life and family
Born in Torrance, California, Sarkisian is the youngest of seven children, the only one in the family born in California; the older six siblings were born in Massachusetts. Sarkisian is of Armenian and Irish ancestry. His father is an Armenian, born and raised in Tehran, Iran, and immigrated to the United States at age 18 to attend college. Sarkisian's mother is an Irish-American from Massachusetts. Although he attended Brigham Young University, an LDS Church-owned institution, Sarkisian is Catholic. He is married to his wife Stephanie, and has two daughters, Ashley(12), Taylor(6), and a son, Brady(9).
Sarkisian's running backs
- 2009: Chris Polk (1,113 yards)
- 2010: Chris Polk (1,415 yards)
- 2011: Chris Polk (1,488 yards)
- 2012: Bishop Sankey (1,439 yards)
- 2013: Bishop Sankey (1,775 yards through 12 games)
NFL players coached
|Draft Year||Player Name||Position||Round||Pick||Team|
|2010||Donald Butler||LB||3rd Round||79th Overall||San Diego Chargers|
|2010||Daniel Te'o-Nesheim||DE||3rd Round||86th Overall||Philadelphia Eagles|
|2011||Jake Locker||QB||1st Round||8th Overall||Tennessee Titans|
|2011||Mason Foster||LB||3rd Round||84th Overall||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|2011||Dorson Boyce||FB||N/A||N/A||Undrafted (signed with Seattle)|
|2011||D'Andre Goodwin||WR||N/A||N/A||Undrafted (signed with Denver)|
|2011||Austin Sylvester||FB||N/A||N/A||Undrafted (signed with Denver)|
|2012||Alameda Ta'amu||DT||4th Round||109th Overall||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|2012||Senio Kelemete||OT||5th Round||151st Overall||Arizona Cardinals|
|2012||Devin Aguilar||WR||N/A||N/A||Undrafted (signed with Tennessee)|
|2012||Erik Folk||K||N/A||N/A||Undrafted (signed with Atlanta)|
|2012||Jermaine Kearse||WR||N/A||N/A||Undrafted (signed with Seattle)|
|2012||Chris Polk||RB||N/A||N/A||Undrafted (signed with Philadelphia)|
|2013||Desmond Trufant||CB||1st Round||22nd Overall||Atlanta Falcons|
|2013||Jonathan Amosa||FB||N/A||N/A||Undrafted (signed with Green Bay)|
|2013||Justin Glenn||S||N/A||N/A||Undrafted (signed with Kansas City)|
|2014||Austin Seferian-Jenkins||TE||2nd Round||38th Overall||Tampa Bay|
|2014||Bishop Sankey||RB||2nd Round||54th Overall||Tennessee|
|2014||Travis Coons||K||N/A||N/A||Undrafted (signed with Tennessee)|
|2014||Greg Ducre||CB||N/A||N/A||Undrafted (signed with San Diego)|
|2014||Keith Price||QB||N/A||N/A||Undrafted (signed with Seattle)|
|2014||Kevin Smith||WR||N/A||N/A||Undrafted (signed with Arizona)|
Head coaching record
|Washington Huskies (Pac-10/Pac-12 Conference) (2009–2013)|
|2011||Washington||7–6||5–4||3rd (North)||L Alamo|
|2012||Washington||7–6||5–4||4th (North)||L Maaco|
|2013||Washington||8–4||5–4||3rd (North)||Fight Hunger*|
|Washington:||34–29||24–21||* Did not coach bowl game|
|USC Trojans (Pac-12 Conference) (2014–present)|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|#Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
- Stephens, Ken. – "QB GENEALOGY – Steve Sarkisian is latest in long line of talented BYU quarterbacks". – Dallas Morning News. – December 31, 1996.
- Sports Illustrated – The Sky's the Limit – 1996-10-07 – accessed 2011-09-28
- Bob Condotta, New UW football coach Steve Sarkisian makes a quick rise in profession, The Seattle Times, December 14, 2008, Accessed January 26, 2009.
- "L.A. serial: 'All My Coaches'". The Oregonian.
- "B.Y.U. Edges Texas A&M In Opener". The New York Times. August 25, 1996. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
- "All signs point to Sarkisian takeover".
- "SARKISIAN WON'T GO TO RAIDERS.".
- "Washington To Introduce Sarkisian As New UW Football Coach".
- Seattle Post-Intelligencer – Rowdy reception for 'Sark' – 2008-12-08
- "Iowa State's Chizik hired to coach Auburn".
- The Seattle Times
- "Washington's Sarkisian: USC hasn't called about coaching vacancy". Sports Illustrated. 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2010-01-13. "In a text message to The Associated Press late Sunday night, Sarkisian said USC had not contacted him about their coaching vacancy that became official when Carroll accepted the head job with the Seattle Seahawks on Monday morning. Washington athletic director Scott Woodward said Monday night he also hadn't been told of anyone contacting Sarkisian."[dead link]
- Shelburne, Ramona. "How USC went from Carroll to Kiffin". ESPN LA. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
- "Washington extends coach Steve Sarkisian's contract through 2015".
- Schad, Joe (December 2, 2013). "USC hires Steve Sarkisian". ESPN LA. ESPN. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- "QB SHOO-IN AS NEXT BYU STAR". Daily News (New York). September 5, 1996.[dead link]
- Go Huskies.com – football – Steve Sarkisian
- "Chris Polk Player Profile". University of Washington. Retrieved 2012-11-20.
- "Bishop Sankey Stats". ESPN. 2012-11-20. Retrieved 2012-11-20.