With the PAC-12 media day coming around the corner at the end of July. It is time to take one last step back and define the era that was Steve Sarkisian as head coach of the University of Washington. So in several parts here is the Sarkisian era defined and his lasting legacy or lack there of.
Return to Bowl Games and Improving Skill Position Talent: While Sarkisian failed miserably in his attempt to bring the Huskies back to national prominence. He did accomplish four bowl games in five years which is a step forward from the dark era of 2003-2008. So there is some credit to be given for Sarkisian bringing accomplishing some level of mediocrity during his tenure. There is also credit to be given out to Sarkisian and his staff for putting more skill position players into the NFL. The best coaching job was done by former running backs coach Joel Thomas who in his final two seasons before leaving for Arkansas was a huge reason why the Washington ground game has put up such big numbers the past few years thanks to his work with Chris Polk and Bishop Sankey.
Extended Losing Streaks: This was the gift that kept on giving as Sarkisian went batted .1000 in his five years in bringing Husky fans the annual three game losing streak. This annual occurrence led to some epic post game Husky Honks shows on KJR. Elite coaches in college football don’t allow their programs every single solitary season to go on extended slides like Sarkisian did under his watch. For example, from 1977 to 1992, Don James only had one three-game losing streak during streak during the regular season and that was 1989.
Moreover, even Jim Lambright and Rick Neuheisel combined did not five seasons worth of regular season three-game losing streaks within their two respective head coaching tenures.
Lack of Discipline: Whether it was the epic amounts of penalties that put Washington near the top of college football on a semi-regular basis or players with legal issues such as Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The lack of focus in games even at home such as the 2010 41-0 loss to Stanford at Husky Stadium that resulted in the first home shutout for Washington since 1976 at the time. The lack of discipline can also be traced some of his assistant coaches that Sarkisian eventually got rid of in Nick Holt.
When covering the 2011 State 3A Football Championship game between Bellevue and O’Dea I had the privilege of getting verbally harassed by Holt while I was in the middle of covering this game because I was wearing a West Virginia visor on my head.
Now, mind you I had never met coach Holt in my life before getting harassed by him and epitomized the lack of discipline of the Sarkisian era. In short, Sarkisian was what he was a 34-29 caliber of coach and someone whose legacy is absolutely not worth defending. Instead it is time look to forward to the Chris Petersen era.