New USC coach Steve Sarkisian met with the media here at Paramount Studios on the first day of Pac-12 media days. After five seasons at Washington, Sarkisian was, of course, asked about the Huskies, his abrupt departure from UW last December and new UW coach Chris Petersen:
(on Petersen’s hiring) “I’m happy for the University of Washington, I’m happy for those players. I think Chris Petersen is a very good football coach. I have a great deal of respect for him. I‘ve said this before … you don’t really pull for other teams. You kind of watch games and get a feel. But I can honestly say I’ll be rooting for them this fall. We obviously don’t play them; they’re in a different division. I want those kids to have a great experience. We put a lot of time and effort into that program the last five years, and I want success for those kids. I was extremely happy for them that they won the bowl game, and I’m hopeful they can go out and have a championship season this fall.”
(Are you comfortable with how you left UW?) “Yeah. I don’t think it’s ever easy. I don’t know if you guys have ever had girlfriends, but when you break up with your girlfriend it’s never easy. It’s always hard, and you do it the best way you know how. You just try to be up-front and honest and try not to disrespect one school or another school, or some kids or other kids. In a perfect world, I wish I would’ve gotten to our players sooner, so they didn’t have to hear it from anybody else. But at the end of the day, I got that opportunity to get up in front of them and address them so they knew exactly where I was coming from. And that’s all you can ask for as a coach. I’m happy that they went on and won the bowl game; Marques (Tuiasosopo) did a great job guiding them through that. And I thought Scott (Woodward) did a great job with that coaching search, finding a really good coaching staff for those guys to continue to grow as a program.
(Any second thought about going on the radio with KJR’s Mitch Levy that Monday morning?) “I did that Monday morning radio show with Mitch every Monday morning after a game. And, quite honestly, I probably shouldn’t have done that interview that morning, but I had committed to the interview. I did the interview, and there was nothing done; I hadn’t accepted the job at USC yet. Hindsight’s 20/20, and in those moments I probably should’ve stayed out of interviews ad away from cameras. But I didn’t; I tried to handle it with the best of my ability. So looking back, the biggest mistake was probably just going on air. And Mitch did his job; I’m not upset with Mitch at all. I have a great deal of respect for Mitch. He did his job. I tried to answer the questions as best I could; unfortunately, it didn’t come out the best way I would’ve liked. But that’s life, and you try to keep moving forward.”
Note: Having some technical issues, but hoping to load video of Sarkisian soon.