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Steve Sarkisian
Sarkisian during his tenure as offensive coordinator of USC
Title Head coach
College Washington
Sport Football
Born March 8, 1974 (1974-03-08) (age 36)
Place of birth Torrance, California
Career highlights
1 AP National College Football Champion (2003)
6 Pac-10 Conference Championships (2002-2003; 2005-2008)
2 WAC Conference Championships (1995-1996)
Playing career
El Camino (JC)
Saskatchewan Roughriders
Position Quarterback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
El Camino (QBs)
Oakland Raiders (QBs)
USC (QBs; OC; Asst. HC)

Steve Sarkisian (born March 8, 1974)[1] is an American college football coach, currently the head coach of the Washington Huskies in Seattle. He played quarterback during college and in the CFL, and has worked with quarterbacks during most of his coaching career.


Playing career

After a standout baseball and football career at West High School in Torrance, California, Sarkisian began his collegiate athletic career in 1992 at USC as a member of the baseball team. He struggled playing NCAA Division I baseball, and transferred to El Camino College, a two-year community college in his hometown of Torrance. At the urging of El Camino head coach John Featherstone, Sarkisian re-started his football career. As a freshman in 1993, Sarkisian earned All-Mission Conference honors. In his sophomore season, he was named JC All-American after setting a national junior college record by completing 72.4 percent of his passes.


As a junior, Sarkisian transferred to Brigham Young University (BYU) for the 1995 season.[2] He was recruited by DeWayne Walker, then an assistant coach at BYU.[3] 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, left school a year early to enter the 1995 NFL Draft, creating a void in the depth chart.

At BYU, Sarkisian was coached by offensive coordinator Norm Chow. As a junior, Sarkisian passed for 3,437 yards and 20 touchdowns, earning All-WAC honors. Sarkisian finished the season in spectacular fashion, completing 31-of-34 passes for 399 yards and 3 touchdowns in BYU's 45-28 victory over Fresno State. His completion percentage in the game (91.2 percent) set an NCAA record. It is notable that two of the three incompletions Sarkisian threw in the game were intentionally thrown out of bounds to avoid the pass rush.[citation needed]

Sarkisian opened his senior season by passing for 536 yards and 6 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's "Wrecking Crew" defense. Sarkisian finished the game with a 46-yard touchdown pass to K.O. Kealaluhi to seal the victory.[4]

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 NCAA All-American. Sarkisian gained enough national prominence that he was awarded the Sammy Baugh Trophy as the nation's top passer (making him the seventh BYU quarterback to win the award). 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 TD passes in the fourth quarter to lead the Cougars to the come-from-behind victory. BYU finished the season with a 14-1 record, 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.


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.

Coaching career

Sarkisian making the USC "V" for victory sign after a 2008 fall practice.

Sarkisian's coaching career began in 2000, when he returned to El Camino Junior College as its quarterbacks coach.

USC Trojans

The following season he joined his former coach Norm Chow at USC (Chow was hired as USC's offensive coordinator by new head coach Pete Carroll in 2001). Sarkisian worked as an offensive assistant (2001), then as quarterbacks coach (2002–03).

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 8th (of 32 NFL teams) in the passing offense category.[5]

He returned to USC for the 2005 season, now with the title of assistant head coach (in addition to his duties as quarterbacks coach).

In January 2007, Sarkisian interviewed with the Oakland Raiders for their vacant head coaching position but pulled himself out of the running and decided to stay at USC.[6] Sarkisian was named to replace Lane Kiffin as USC's offensive coordinator when Kiffin took the head coaching job of the Oakland Raiders.

Washington Huskies

On December 6, 2008, the University of Washington introduced Sarkisian as the school's 23rd head football coach during a press conference on December 8, 2008 in the Don James Center at Husky Stadium.[7] Sarkisian signed a contract that will pay him $1.75 million in 2009, rising to $2.3 million by 2013.[1] At USC, John Morton, the passing coordinator, became the new offensive coordinator.[8]

Upon taking the reigns, Sarkisian quickly reignited an enormous but frustrated UW football fanbase. In their first game of the season, the Huskies nearly upset #11 LSU, losing 31-23. After picking up a victory over Idaho, Washington scored a huge upset of Sarkisian's former team, defeating #3 USC 16-13. UW fans were ecstatic, but the team hit a rough skid after that, losing six of their next seven games. However, Sarkisian and the Huskies finished the season in strong fashion, dominating rival Washington State 30-0 to claim the Apple Cup, then pulling another big upset by routing #19 California 42-10 in the final game of the year. Washington finished the year with a 5-7 record, a dramatic improvement over the previous season (0-12).

With head coach 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 for Carroll, but Sarkisian stated that he had not received an offer to become head coach of the Trojans.[9][10]


Sarkisian was born in Torrance, California. The youngest of seven children, he was the only one born in California; the older six were born in Massachusetts. Sarkisian's ethnicity is Armenian and Irish. His father is an ethnic Armenian, born and raised in Tehran, Iran, who immigrated to the U.S. at age 18 to attend college and stayed; Sarkisian's mother is an Irish-American.[11] Although he attended Brigham Young University, a Mormon institution, Sarkisian is Catholic.[2] He is married and has two daughters and a son.[12][13]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl Coaches# AP°
Washington Huskies (Pacific-10 Conference) (2009–present)
2009 Washington 5-7 4-5 7th
Washington: 5-7 4-5
Total: 5-7
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title
Indicates BCS bowl game. #Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


  1. ^ Stephens, Ken. - "QB GENEALOGY - Steve Sarkisian is latest in long line of talented BYU quarterbacks". - Dallas Morning News. - December 31, 1996.
  2. ^ a b Bob Condotta, New UW football coach Steve Sarkisian makes a quick rise in profession, The Seattle Times, December 14, 2008, Accessed January 26, 2009.
  3. ^ "L.A. serial: 'All My Coaches'". 
  4. ^ "B.Y.U. Edges Texas A&M In Opener". 
  5. ^ "All signs point to Sarkisian takeover". 
  7. ^ "Washington To Introduce Sarkisian As New UW Football Coach". 
  8. ^ "Iowa State's Chizik hired to coach Auburn".,0,1428103.column. 
  9. ^ The Seattle Times
  10. ^ "Washington's Sarkisian: USC hasn't called about coaching vacancy". 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." 
  12. ^ "Steve Sarkisian bio". 
  13. ^

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Reggie Slack
Saskatchewan Roughriders Starting Quarterback
Succeeded by
Henry Burris
Preceded by
Lane Kiffin
USC Offensive Coordinators
Succeeded by
John Morton
Preceded by
Tyrone Willingham
University of Washington Head Football Coach
Succeeded by

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