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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

December 8, 2008 at 2:34 PM

Sarkisian’s opening statement

There was a lot going on at the news conference today and I’ll try to dole out some of it as we go along.
For starters, here is Sarkisian’s opening statement:
“I’m so grateful for this opportunity to be the head football coach at the University of Washington. I want to thank President Emmert, Athletic Director Scott Woodward. This is an opportunity, to me, one of the jobs in the country that I’ve cherished since growing up in Southern California and watching Pac-10 football. The opportunity to come to this university, to stand in front of this student body, these alumni, the coaches that have been here before, Don James, what an amazing opportunity for myself, for my family. I’m just so excited to be part of this thing and to get this thing going in the right direction.
“I’d like to thank the University of Washington, the city of Seattle for welcoming us, the hospitality they’ve provided to me and my family to make this transition as smooth as possible. We want to get moved up here, get going and make this thing something special, not only for us as a family, but for everyone else involved in this program.
“The University of Washington — 15 conference championships, two national championships, 14 Rose Bowl appearances – it’s the year 2008, it’s about time we get back to that level of expectations, it’s about time for us to get back to the Rose Bowl, it’s about time for us to get back competing for conference championships, it’s about time for us to get back competing for national championships, and that’s what our goal is, no question.
“Standing here today, looking out over Husky Stadium, I’m going to give you a little personal experience of when I was a player at BYU and I got an opportunity to play here my senior season. We were 14-1, we finished fifth in the country. Our one loss came in this building right here. I got sacked eight times, we had eight false start penalties. I got off the plane, went straight to the hospital for an MRI on my left knee. The environment, the hostile environment, the electricity in the air when you came into this building was something that could not be matched, could not be replaced. Obviously that’s not the way it is right now, but as I know Husky football, as I know Husky Stadium and what it can be, I know that it’s something that’s attainable for us and it can happen quickly, it’s going to happen fast. It’s going to take the support of everyone involved, but I know what this place can be, I know what this building can be, I know what kind of environment and atmosphere it can place on an opposing football team, and we’ve got to get that back to where we need it to be.
“Obviously we’re in the midst of a recruiting battle. We’re jumping in two feet in, we’re going to hit the ground running, we’re going for it. We’re going to get the best football payers available to join this football program. We’re going to assemble a staff of young energetic recruiters that are going to know how to attract players to come to a tremendous institution with a great tradition, a great history of not only football players but football coaches. We’re going to get kids that know how to compete not only on the football field but in the classroom and we’re going to get kids that want to come in here and be winners. To get that done, we have to find kids that are tough, not only mentally but physically. Kids that know how to deal with adversity, and we’re going to teach them how to deal with adversity on and off the field, that’s our jobs. Our jobs are to come in here and to mold young men, but it’s also to create a mental toughness and attitude that this place has stood for for years. We’re going to get that back in our football program. We’re going to be a physical football team on and off the field, mentally, physically, we’re going to battle, we’re going to compete, and when we’re in those tight games in the fourth quarter, we’re going to find a way to win them.
“This has been something I’ve dreamt of my entire life. To be at this place at this time, I think that the sky is the limit. Obviously as we all know, there’s only one place to go and that’s up. We’ve got a tremendous football team. We’ve got kids that are talented. We’ve got kids that want to work, we’ve just got to change their mind-set a little bit. It’s going to take a little time, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen fast. I’m excited about the opportunity, can’t wait to get going. As soon as we can get through these preliminary days here of working through some logistics, let’s get recruiting, let’s get going, let’s finish up finals, we can come back after the New Year, turn this program back to where it needs to be.”

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