Christopher Smith

Sarkisian Pursues Orgeron For Assistant Job

Created on Dec. 22, 2013 11:34 PM EST

At last blush, Ed Orgeron reportedly was "enraged" with USC athletic director Pat Haden for declining to name him the Trojans' next head coach, resigning in a huff and leaving Saturday's Las Vegas Bowl in the hands of a second interim coach, Clay Helton.

Now the man whom Haden hired, Steve Sarkisian, is pursuing both of them for roles on his staff.

If Orgeron is even willing to listen — which seems questionable at best — the likelihood of him rejoining the USC staff as an assistant may depend on what head coaching opportunities open after bowl season finishes. One or two jobs may come open, and the Texas hiring also could create a domino affect at a few schools.

"I am going to pursue Ed here one more time," Sarkisian said on ESPNLA 710. "I thought about him again after the game on the ride home. I think when emotions get settled down, and I know that was an emotional time for Ed and not getting named the head coach when he thought he should have been deservedly so, I would have felt the same way.

"When the emotions settle down, Ed's a great Trojan and he's meant a lot to the Trojan family and if we can have that opportunity for him to be part of this football program and be here with us, we'd love to have him."

USC went 6-2 with Orgeron acting as the interim coach, but beat Fresno State, 45-20, on Saturday to reach 10 wins without him.

The public move to reach out to Orgeron comes after news surfaced late in the week that Tosh Lupoi, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for Sarkisian at Washington, allegedly paid for a recruit's academic services in an attempt to help him gain academic eligibility. Lupoi has denied the allegations, but they should be enough to prevent him from joining Sarkisian's staff at USC. Orgeron, of course, served as recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach at USC under Lane Kiffin.

Sarkisian said Helton will be a member of his Trojans staff, and ESPN reported that he'll retain his offensive coordinator title.

If Orgeron's feelings haven't changed, it will be interesting to see if he reacts publicly or witholds his emotions, thinking an outburst may affect his employment search.

Regardless of whether you pin USC's turnaround on Orgeron's coaching ability or Kiffin's absolute failure, the big man did develop a strong relationship with the players and was the one who re-introduced the "football is fun" concept to them. If Sarkisian can pull off what seems impossible from this vantage point, Orgeron would be a strong addition to his staff.

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