Less than a year ago I remember sitting with some friends at a bar during the Vegas Bowl, one of which is Sean Kramer, and several of which are Sean Kramer’s friends, making Kramer the inexplicable epicenter of much of my social life. We were arguing about whether or not the Huskies should fire Steve Sarkisian.
I don’t even remember where I stood on it. I’m prone to be moderate on many things, a thing that I’ve had reiterated quite frequently in the form of recent sports topics.
What I do remember I asking the waitress to cut Sean off, only to have her serve him one more. The fatal shot. The tipping point.
Kramer went from explaining to Boise State fans why the University of Idaho was a better academic institution to obnoxiously slurring “Seven Win Steve” at a decibel level that would require hearing protection in an industrial setting.
“Can you make your friend stop swearing so much?” said the bartender.
“You served him,” I retorted, “This is your fault, not mine.”
And while I do believe that the majority of the burden of that uncomfortable afternoon belongs to this particular waitress, I also think that some of it belongs to Steve Sarkisian. It was only the third quarter when Kramer had been extolling the virtues of Steve Sarkisian. Give that man a goddamned extension. Only minutes later Kramer, with the help of our uncooperative waitress, had waffled to the other side of an argument that has become quite polarizing for Huskies fans.
Fire Steve Sarkisian.
The Huskies didn’t get the chance to fire Sark, as Sark decided he was leaving on his own accord, leaving for the greener pastures of the University of Southern California. He won’t be coaching the bowl game, and he won’t be leaving any of his coaches in Seattle if he can help it, it would appear.
This is a dick move. There’s no doubt about that. There’s not much worse a coach could do to a program. Just days after jubilation spread over the city of Seattle with the victory over the hated Washington State Cougars, Sark has deserted his players, and a city and culture he tried so hard to convince us he was committed to.
People will say that the team should have fired him before he had the chance to quit in light of these events. That’s a bit like saying you should have been fucking other people once you find out your girlfriend cheated on you. It’s pointless, and doesn’t further your life at all.
That said, Steve Sarkisian did a very good thing for the Washington Huskies. Not today. Today was fucked. But in the past five years Sark has led a resurgence to near-prominence coming from the deepest depths the program had ever seen. He didn’t have a completely bare cupboard, but he’s continued to infuse the program with talent.
When Sark returns there’s a very good chance he’ll be booed. He deserves to be booed. Most people who get booed deserve to be booed. If you feel like booing Sark, boo the hell out of him. That’s your right as a fan. But understand that you’re doing it, at least in part, because there’s something that you love about him. Sark took a job when it was its least attractive and brought the Huskies back to a respectable program that is on the verge of re-entering the “good” discussion.
By no means should Sarkisian be in the Huskies hall of fame, or anything silly like that, but when the Huskies are great again, it will be in some part due to the five-year head start they were given by that mother fucker at USC that everyone will be booing.
Early speculation has one of Chris Petersen or Jim Mora ending up at Washington. While both of those are pretty interesting options, Patton Richard, one of the most underrated football minds in this area in my opinion, made a fantastic suggestion: Ray Horton.*
Horton is the present defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns. Horton’s average annual value as Cleveland’s defensive coordinator is $2 million, so he wouldn’t be a cheap get.
He’s got no head coaching experience, and no college coaching experience either. Those are marks against him. He’d need the ropes shown to him from a recruiting perspective, and probably to some extent from a structural perspective, as the college game is much different from the pro game, both procedurally and on the field.
Horton is, however, considered to have one of the NFL’s best defensive minds, and is a Washington graduate who was born in Tacoma. Being a local guy isn’t a sole reason for inclusion in a candidate search, but when paired with Horton’s presumed tactical strengths, it doesn’t make for an entirely terrible package.
*For some comprehensiveness surrounding Patton’s tweet, James Franklin is the head coach of Vanderbilt. I know very little about him, but I trust Patton’s judgement.