UCLA’s search for a head football coach has continued fruitlessly this week as the school has already been turned down by Boise State’s Chris Petersen, Houston’s Kevin Sumlin and Miami’s Al Golden. While Jim Mora Jr. apparently emerged as the front-runner for the job a few days ago, sources inform us that the Bruins have since gone behind Mora’s back to reach out to another guy with Washington ties, current Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian.
We had been hearing that Sarkisian could be targeted by UCLA for a while and today the Los Angeles Times reported that the former USC assistant has been approached by the Bruins, but remains committed to the Huskies. In fact, one of our sources says UCLA’s communication with Sark was a waste of time, as he expressed virtually zero interest in the position despite the fact that the Bruins could offer a huge package in return for his services.
Sarkisian’s complete lack of interest might have something to do with the way his mentor, Norm Chow, was treated during his time at UCLA. Chow was brought in by now-former head coach Rick Neuheisel to much fanfare only to have his role as offensive coordinator marginalized over time and his offense tampered with and eventually completely scrapped. Chow was then given the choice of taking a buyout or being demoted to a lesser position on the staff (translation: he was fired). He took the buyout and is now the offensive coordinator at Utah.
Everyone we’ve talked to has claimed that UCLA would really like to make a splash with their coaching hire, but athletic director Dan Guerrero’s efforts have fallen completely flat. Several sources have confirmed to us that Guerrero put almost all of his eggs in the Chris Petersen basket and when that failed the school was left scrambling for alternatives.
Sarkisian has a young team at Washington and is well compensated after receiving a contract extension in January that paid him $2.25 million this year. Washington will also begin a $250 million renovation of its football stadium soon which will also include a football operations building. Things are looking up in Washington after only a short time of the 37-year-old’s tenure. There are plenty of reasons for him to turn down a job with the Bruins.