Reports: Chris Petersen withdraws from USC search; Steve Sarkisian interviews

Monday December 2nd, 2013

A frequent subject of coaching rumors, Boise State's Chris Petersen will not be headed to USC. A frequent subject of coaching rumors, Boise State's Chris Petersen will not be headed to USC. (Otto Kitsinger/AP)

Not long after becoming one of USC's top coaching targets, Boise State's Chris Petersen has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Trojans' job, ESPN's Joe Schad reports.

Schad reported Sunday that Petersen and Vanderbilt's James Franklin had emerged as the top candidates for USC's head coaching job. But Schad said Monday that Petersen withdrew his name after mutual interest. Petersen has spent the last 12 years at Boise State, where he served five seasons as offensive coordinator before taking over as head coach in 2006. He is 92-12 as the Broncos' head coach.

While Petersen has seemingly taken himself out of the running for the USC job, Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams told Jeff Lockridge of The Tennessean in Nashville that Franklin has not been contacted by the Trojans.

“All I’ve heard about James and USC has come from the media,” Williams said. “I have not been contacted by USC. James has not mentioned it. His agent, with whom I have a good relationship, has not mentioned it. I don’t know where all this comes from. We have no knowledge of it whatsoever.

“I have no reason to believe James has interviewed for the job. I know (USC AD) Pat (Haden) and Pat has not talked to me, has not asked permission. And Pat would do that, I assume. James has not mentioned it to me. His agent has not mentioned it to me. Based on those things, I would be very surprised if James has interviewed for that job – or any job for that matter.”

ESPN's Brett McMurphy also reported Monday that Washington coach Steve Sarkisian has interviewed for the Trojans' job. Sarkisian has a history with USC, having spent six seasons as an assistant with the program in two separate stints (2001-2003, 2005-2008). Sarkisian inherited a Washington program coming off the Pac-10's first 0-12 season in league history in 2008. Ty Willingham went 11-37 in his four seasons with the Huskies, but Sarkisian has the Huskies 34-29 over his five seasons and headed to their fourth straight bowl game.

But according to Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily Times, Sarkisian said he has not interviewed for the USC job. Since Lane Kiffin was fired by USC after a 3-2 start, interim head coach Ed Orgeron led the Trojans to a 9-4 record, including an upset of No. 4 Stanford. USC athletic director Pat Haden said last month that fans have expressed a huge amount of support for Orgeron as the program's next head coach.

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