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December 5, 2013

Evaluating Sark's tenure




Just like that the Steve Sarkisian era is over at Washington. On Monday morning social media was ablaze with rumors of Steve Sarkisian's imminent departure.

Later that morning it was officially confirmed that Sarkisian would succeed Ed Orgeron as the next head coach at USC, after five seasons at UW.

Sarkisian, who was hired by the Huskies in 2009 following the infamous winless 2008 season, finishes his coaching career at UW with a 34-29 record and a 1-2 bowl record. It was an era of ups and downs. An era of huge upset wins over ranked opponents at home and blowout losses on the road, promising starts and three-game losing streaks, and record-setting players and excessive amounts of penalties.

While Sarkisian's game-management was at times questionable for the Huskies his recruiting was not. Sarkisian's first recruit as head coach was none other than quarterback Keith Price, who has gone on to become one of the best quarterbacks in Washington Huskies history.

Turning the commitment of running back Bishop Sankey away from Washington State has proven to be arguably the biggest recruiting steal in the history of the Huskies program, with Sankey finishing the 2013 regular season 2nd in all of college football in rushing and setting the Huskies single-season rushing and all-time rushing touchdown record.

While Sarkisian couldn't get UW over the hump and into the category of elite teams, it cannot be said that he didn't positively change the Washington Huskies football program.

He took a team that was among the worst in all of college football and turned them into a competitive, respectful, and at times very good football team. He was influential in building the state-of-the-art Husky Stadium, a facility that will be around for many decades, and he continuously put together top recruiting classes.

The Sarkisian era will go down as one that plateaued after initial optimism, but nevertheless, was a great stepping-stone and start for a program that is closer than ever to returning to the glory that it experienced during the James era.

HIGHS

16-13 win over #3 USC at Husky Stadium in first season as coach of UW (2009)

19-7 Holiday Bowl win over #18 Nebraska at Qualcomm Stadium; only bowl win as head coach of UW (2010)

35-28 Apple Cup win over Washington State at Martin Stadium; Huskies become bowl eligible for first time since 2002. (2010)

17-13 win over #8 Stanford at CenturyLink Field

Helped coordinate the renovation of Husky Stadium

LOWS

0-5 against the Oregon Ducks

31-28 Apple Cup loss to Washington State at Martin Stadium; team fails to surpass seven wins in regular season

Losing streak of three or more games in every season

Blowout losses of 25+ points on the road against Arizona State (2013), LSU (2012), Arizona (2012, 2010), Oregon (2012, 2010), Stanford (2011), Oregon State (2009)

Three straight seven-win seasons (2010-2012)

1-2 bowl record

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