Steve Sarkisian: 'I'm going to pursue Ed Orgeron'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Sunday December 22, 2013

Ed Orgeron’s time at USC may not quite be done, yet.

The former interim head coach resigned after not getting the permanent job and didn’t care to stay on as an assistant. But Steve Sarkisian tells ESPN Radio in Los Angeles that he will try one more time to bring Orgeron on. Orgeron was an assistant at USC from 1998-04 and 2010 through this season.

“Technically, that is not done yet. I’m going to pursue Ed one more time,” Sarkisian said. “I thought about it after the game on the ride home. When emotions get settled down, I know that was an emotional time for Ed, not getting named head coach, which he thought was deservingly so. I’m sure I would have felt the same way. When emotions settle down, Ed’s a great Trojan, and he’s meant a lot to the Trojan family.

If we could have that opportunity for him to be part of this football program, we’d love to have him. We never say never. We always keep fighting on that. We’ll see what can happen.”

Along with Tee Martin, Sarkisian says offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Clay Helton, who was the interim head coach in the Las Vegas Bowl win against Fresno State, will be retained, though Helton's comments leave some wiggle room.

“I’m excited to know he will be a part of the staff,” Sarkisian said. “It hasn’t been official. I think Clay’s done a tremendous job in the second half of the season with that offense, with Cody, distributing the football to a lot of different players, scoring points, running the football, getting the running backs involved in the passing game. Then how he handled the last two weeks, being the interim head coach at a difficult time, where there’s a lot of emotion in that room. I thought Clay did a masterful job of getting them ready to play and, ultimately, putting on a great performance yesterday.”

Another coach who’s future at the school is uncertain is special teams coordinator / tight ends coach John Baxter. It was reported Baxter could taken an academic role if he is not retained. Sarkisian said it’s still something he’s looking at.

“It is a possibility,” Sarkisian said. “That one is a little unique and different, how it fits, where it fits. It’s a little different scenario than the one Ed is in. I have a great deal of respect for John Baxter, I will say that. What he’s done with special teams, as a football coach, as a mentor.

“But, as always, you start putting your staff together, and you try finding the right mix, the right blend of coaches, position coaches, recruiters and different things. We’re hopeful it can work out. It just hasn’t gotten to that point, yet.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to