Steve Sarkisian Fired: USC Has To Nail This Hire

    Steve Sarkisian was fired on Monday by the USC Trojans. The program now has the task of finding another head coach, and has to absolutely nail this hire.

    October 12, 2015

    A day after Steve Sarkisian was suspended indefinitely on Sunday, he was fired as the USC head coach on Monday. After having a tough time finding the right head man over the last few tries, USC has to nail it with this next coaching hire.

    Now what, USC?

    Lane Kiffin was a perfectly fine college football head coach. He might have had a few dozen issues, and he might not have been the friendliest of chaps, but he took over a USC program just as it was getting blown out of the water by the NCAA, and hamstrung by massive scholarship restrictions, he came up with a brilliant 10-2 season in 2011, was crushed by injures and a lack of depth, and the depleted team struggled. This led to an almost literal bus tossing after a 62-41 loss to Arizona State in 2013.

    That led to Ed Orgeron filling in for the rest of the season. A beloved assistant from the glory days under Pete Carroll, and the former head man at Ole Miss, Orgeron led the way to good second half of the season on the way to a 10-4 record, but despite lobbying for the job, and despite being a fan and team favorite, he wasn’t what athletic director Pat Haden wanted.

    Enter Steve Sarkisian – or “Seven Win Sark” as he became known at Washington with three straight 7-6 seasons before going 8-4 in 2013.

    Sarkisian had been the USC quarterback coach at USC in the early 2000s before becoming the offensive coordinator, leading to the Washington gig. He knew the program, he had ties to the Carroll era – without any of the stain of the Reggie Bush situation – and he was young enough to be seen as the new star-in-the-making.

    There were a few tough losses in his first year to go along with a strange win over Stanford – forever remembered for Haden running down on the field to complain to the referees – and a loss to UCLA, but things were looking up. Three of the losses were by six points or fewer, the Trojans obliterated Notre Dame, and they won the Holiday Bowl over Nebraska for a 9-4 season and an apparent stepping stone to bigger and better things.

    The recruiting class was tremendous, the depth was beginning to rebuild, and then came the infamous booster rally with Sarkisian cranking out an apparently inebriated speech that Haden had to answer for.

    Two Pac-12 losses and several off-the-field problems later, and now the Clay Helton era begins.

    With four road trips in the next six games – including dates at Notre Dame, Cal, and Oregon – along with the showdown against UCLA and home games against Utah and Arizona, it’s not going to be an easy run. But that just means Helton gets a chance to audition for the job. Do well, and it might be his.

    But USC is going to be a national-search job. Short of Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh and Nick Saban, just about every coach is in play – it’s US-fricking-C.

    So with that in mind, who are the top USC football head coaching candidates?


    Have the full Stadium experience

    Watch with friends

    Get rewards

    Join the discussion