Report: Washington to Name USC's Sarkisian as Coach

Washington AD says no news on coach search

University of Washington athletic director Scott Woodward had no comment on Thursday night on a report that the Huskies had offered Southern California assistant head coach Steve Sarkisian the job of head football coach., citing unidentified sources, has reported that Sarkisian will be hired to replace fired coach Tyrone Willingham.

"We do not have an announcement to make," Woodward said.

When asked if the report about Sarkisian was wrong, Woodward said. "We'll see when the announcement comes. ... Stay tuned."

Sarkisian did not answer his cell phone when called by The Associated Press on Thursday night, and his mailbox was full and unable to accept messages.

He denied the report in a statement released by USC.

"I have not been offered the job," he said. "Not as of now. Contact has been made. I'm honored to be a candidate. But right now, my focus is on the UCLA game Saturday.

Indications are that is the issue, that both Washington and Sarkisian want to remain quiet until after USC tries to win the Pac-10 title on Saturday. A university official said Washington may not have an announcement for a couple of days.

"I have interviewed with Washington. They've interviewed a lot of people. I'm one of a number of candidates, which I'm honored to be. Nothing is finalized in any way, shape or form. There's been some communication. Nothing has been put in writing. ... It's a process. Neither party wants to rush into it.

"That's ESPN's report, not Washington's or mine. ... Maybe ESPN knows more than I know."

Sarkisian said his boss, Trojans coach Pete Carroll "understands the situation and is on the same page."

"It comes with the territory: job openings and speculation," Sarkisian said. "The key is to focus on the job Saturday and not this conversation."

Earlier Thursday, Fresno State coach Pat Hill and Texas Tech's Mike Leach withdrew from consideration for the job. Both had interviewed with Washington officials.

Texas Tech athletic director Gary Myers said the school was still working on getting Leach a new contract to keep him.

Hill acknowledged in a statement released Thursday by Fresno State that he had interviewed with Washington officials Saturday in Seattle, a day after the Bulldogs lost their regular-season finale at Boise State.

Hill wanted a decision from the Huskies before he led the Bulldogs back to practice to prepare for their ninth bowl appearance in 10 seasons. But he said Washington officials told him they weren't yet ready to announce their choice.

Hill said he was impressed with what Washington, the only winless major college team in the nation this season, is trying to do to revive its program.

"Whoever gets the Washington job will have a great challenge but also a great opportunity," he said. "They have great support and tradition there and are making a serious commitment to restoring that program. As they move through their hiring process, they have made it clear that they are not ready to hire a coach at this time and I can't keep my players or our staff hanging on."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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