LOS ANGELES (CNS) – New USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian said
today taking over the Trojan team “is just awesome,” and he vowed to live up
to fan and university expectations of winning championships.
“I will say this, we will not shy away from the expectations here.
We’re going to embrace them,” Sarkisian said at a news conference at USC.
“We’re here to win championships. We’re here to win championships. I wouldn’t
have taken this job just to come home. I came here to win championships and so
did all these players. They choose to come here to do that.”
Sarkisian, 39, beamed with pride as he talked about accepting the head
coaching position at a university where he once played baseball and served
several stints as an assistant football coach before landing his most recent
head-coaching job at the University of Washington.
“When this one came about, to be home, to be the head football coach at
USC is just awesome,” he said. “I can’t tell you the feeling I have, seeing
your faces here again, so many familiar faces. … You don’t get to do this,
man. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I felt like I had to take
advantage of and jump on the first chance I got.”
He said he understands the tradition of USC football and the
expectations of fans.
“I know how special this place is — the tradition, the passion, the
support, the standard of excellence, the fans, the Los Angeles Memorial
Coliseum. I can’t wait for the first time to come running out of that thing
with these guys with me, man. I can’t wait for it.”
He said he met with the team last night and stressed the team was not
“rebuilding,” giving kudos to Ed Orgeron, who coached the Trojans after the
mid-season firing of Lane Kiffin.
“Rebuilding is not a word around here,” he said. “Coach O proved that
to us, that we can win right now. I’ve known Coach O since 2001. I know what
he’s meant to this program and to these young men. I think we all owe Coach O a
great deal of gratitude, as he left this program in a better place than where
it was before.”
Orgeron, who helmed the Trojans for the past eight games, announced
Monday he was leaving USC to pursue head coaching opportunities.
“I am grateful to the University of Southern California for the great
time I had here,” said Orgeron. “I’m especially grateful for the players on
this year’s team, the coaching staff and the Trojan family for the way they all
fought through adversity and became one. I’m also thankful for all the Trojan
players and family members who have become close personal friends during my 11
years at USC.”
Sarkisian joined the USC football staff as an offensive assistant in
January of 2001. He then took a job at San Diego State University but returned
to USC to be the quarterbacks coach in 2002. Sarkisian spent the 2004 season as
the quarterbacks coach with the Oakland Raiders, the returned to the Trojans in
February of 2005 as the assistant head coach and quarterback coach.
At the University of Washington, Sarkisian led the Huskies to post-
season bowl appearances the past four seasons.
“I feel so honored to be part of the Trojan family,” Sarkisian said.
“Our loyal fan base will get a brand of football that will make them proud to