Steve Sarkisian Returns To USC As Quarterbacks Coach
Feb. 9, 2005
Steve Sarkisian has returned to USC as quarterbacks coach, while Ken Norton Jr. has been elevated to a full-time assistant working with the linebackers, Trojan head coach Pete Carroll announced today.
Sarkisian replaces Carl Smith, who was hired last month as the offensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Norton will continue to handle the linebackers with fellow full-time assistant Rocky Seto.
Carroll also said he will decide soon who will take over USC's play calling duties after offensive coordinator Norm Chow was hired today in the same capacity with the Tennessee Titans.
Carroll also is expected to soon name an offensive line coach to replace Tim Davis, who was hired this week by the Miami Dolphins, a pair of graduate assistant coaches to replace Norton and Dennis Slutak, who became an assistant at Mississippi, and a director of football operations after Mark Jackson leaves to become an athletic administrator at Syracuse.
This is actually the fourth stop at USC for Sarkisian, who spent the 2004 season as the quarterbacks coach with the Oakland Raiders. His quarterbacks passed for more than 4,000 yards in 2004 as Oakland ranked eighth in passing in the NFL.
The 30-year-old Sarkisian, a one-time Trojan athlete, joined the USC staff as an offensive assistant in January of 2001. Then, after joining San Diego State briefly as the quarterbacks coach in January of 2002, he returned to USC in March of 2002 to handle the quarterbacks fulltime.
In 2003, quarterback Matt Leinart was an All-American first teamer and was the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year (he finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting) while setting Pac-10 season records for TD passes (35) and consecutive passes without an interception (212). He also had the highest passing efficiency rating of any USC quarterback (163.2).
In 2002, quarterback Carson Palmer won the Heisman and Unitas Award en route to setting the Pac-10 career records for passing yards and total offense (he was the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NFL draft), plus he was an All-American first teamer.
Sarkisian was part of USC staffs that coached in the 2001 Las Vegas Bowl, 2003 Orange Bowl and 2004 Rose Bowl.
He spent the 2000 season as the quarterbacks coach at El Camino Junior College in Torrance (Calif.). His quarterback, Robert Hodge, earned All-American honors. El Camino played in the CHIPs For Kids Bowl.
Sarkisian starred at the quarterback position at the prep, collegiate and pro levels. He was with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League for 3 seasons (1997-99). He started in 1999 and threw 16 touchdowns.
He had a record-setting 2-year (1995-96) career at BYU, where he was coached by Norm Chow. He completed 549-of-824 passes (66.6%) for 7,755 yards and 55 TDs in his career. His 162.0 career passing efficiency rating is third on the all-time NCAA list. As a senior in 1996, he led the nation in passing efficiency (173.6, the seventh best mark ever) as the Western Athletic Conference champion Cougars went 14-1 and won the 1997 Cotton Bowl. He was the WAC Offensive Player of the Year in 1996, won All-American second team honors and played in the East-West Shrine Game and Hula Bowl. As a 1995 junior, he made the All-WAC team and led BYU to the WAC title. Against Fresno State that season, he set an NCAA game completion percentage record when he hit 31-of-34 passes (91.2%).
He came to BYU from El Camino Junior College, where he starred for 2 seasons (1993-94). He was a J.C. All-American first teamer as a 1994 sophomore and won All-Mission Conference honors in 1993 as a freshman. He also played baseball (shortstop) at El Camino in 1993.
He actually began his college career at USC, spending the fall of 1992 on the Trojan baseball team before transferring to El Camino.
He was a standout football and baseball player at West Torrance (Calif.) High.
He earned his bachelor's degree in sociology from BYU in 1997 after getting his associate's degree in general studies from El Camino in 1994.
He was born March 8, 1974. He and his wife, Stephanie, have a 2-year-old daughter, Ashley.
The 38-year-old Norton, one of the premier linebackers in NFL and collegiate history, joined the Trojan staff in February of 2004 and spent this past season as a graduate assistant working with the linebackers.
He spent 13 years playing in the NFL, first with the Dallas Cowboys for 6 seasons (1988-93) and then 7 years with the San Francisco 49ers (1994-2000). The All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection is the only player in history to play on 3 consecutive Super Bowl-winning teams (the Cowboys in 1992 and 1993 and the 49ers in 1994).
After retiring from the NFL, he was a radio and television commentator and analyst, including on the NFL Network.
He also served as the defensive coordinator at Hamilton High in Los Angeles in 2003.
He was the Cowboys' second round NFL draft pick in 1988 after earning All-American honors at UCLA in 1987. He lettered 4 seasons (1984-87) with the Bruins and was a finalist for the 1987 Butkus Award. He earned his bachelor's degree in sociology from UCLA in 1998.
He prepped at Westchester (Calif.) High.
Born Sept. 29, 1966, he and his wife, Angela, have 3 children: daughters Brittney, 16, and Sabrina, 9, and son Ken III, 8. His father, Ken Sr., is the former world heavyweight boxing champion and played football at Northeast Missouri State.