Sarkisian calls USC the best: 'We are not rebuilding ... we can win right now'

By Jim Peltz

Los Angeles Times     

LOS ANGELES -- Steve Sarkisian said Tuesday that he was "honored and humbled" to be the new head football coach at USC.

"I'm the luckiest guy in the world," Sarkisian told a crowd of nearly 100 members of the media, family members and others at the McKay Center on the USC campus.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said. "I can't tell you the feeling I have."

Sarkisian, 39, replaced popular interim coach Ed Orgeron, who led the Trojans to a 6-2 record after taking over for Lane Kiffin earlier this season. Orgeron left to find a head-coaching job elsewhere.

A former USC assistant football coach who has been head coach at Washington for the last five seasons, Sarkisian said "we will not shy away from the expectations" at USC.

"I came here to win championships," he said. "We are not rebuilding at the University of Southern California. We can win right now.

"USC is about being the best," Sarkisian said. "We have the resources, we have the people in place to make that happen."

Sarkisian also paid tribute to Orgeron, saying "we all owe Coach O a great deal of gratitude."

Meanwhile, The Seattle Times reported that Sarkisian offered an apology for his misdirection in an radio interview the previous day.

Sarkisian told KJR 950-AM on Monday that he did not have a formal interview with Trojans athletic director Pat Haden. But Sarkisian acknowledged Tuesday that he had been interviewed.


“I’m sorry if my message got misconstrued, but it really was in the best interest of the young men,” Sarkisian said, according to the Seattle Times.  “Hindsight’s 20-20. I probably should have said it was an interview. Semantics are semantics. If I could do it all over again, I probably would have just said exactly what the conversation was that Pat and I had.

“I just felt like at the time, nowhere near finalizing the deal, that it wasn’t the right thing to say,” Sarkisian said. “I didn’t either want to put (USC or UW players) in a situation of uncertainty.”