New USC Coach Holds First News Conference - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

New USC Coach Holds First News Conference

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(FOX 11 /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 years 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 be Trojans."

 PREVIOUSLY:

University of Washington head football coach Steve Sarkisian, who previously spent seven years as an assistant coach at USC, was named the new head coach of the Trojans, USC announced Monday.

"We are delighted to welcome Steve Sarkisian back to the Trojan family," said USC athletic director Pat Haden. "We conducted a very exhaustive and thorough search, pinpointing about 20 candidates and interviewing five of them. We kept coming back to Sark."

Haden said that the 39-year-old Sarkisian "is the only one who was offered the job. I believe in my gut that he is the right coach for USC at this time."

The announcement comes on the heels of the Trojans' 35-14 thumping by the UCLA Bruins on Saturday. The loss put the future of USC interim coach Ed Orgeron in doubt.

Orgeron, who helmed the Trojans for the past 8 games, announced today he is 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 years 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."

Haden said of Orgeron: "Ed is one of the greatest Trojans ever and we thank him for all he has done for the program. He and I had a very open and frank discussion. He understandably was disappointed when I told him we were going in a different direction. We talked about the possibility of him remaining at USC, but Ed wants to be a head coach and I am supportive of that. I told him I will do whatever I can to help him in that pursuit."

Sarkisian has had a long, revolving-door relationship with USC. He briefly played baseball for the Trojans before transferring to BYU.

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.

"First, Id like to thank the University of Washington and athletic director Scott Woodward for the opportunity they gave me five years ago," Sarkisian said Monday. "I believe the Husky program is in a better place now than when we arrived, and I am proud and thankful of the players for that. That said, I am extremely excited to be coming home to USC and for the opportunity that USC presents to win championships," he continued. "I cant wait to get started."

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