BY Adam Lewis 03:49PM 12/07/2013

UW assistant coaches facing uncertain future

USC must pay Washington $1.5 million to buy out remainder of Sarkisian’s contract, but UW “only” has to pay Boise State $750,000 to buy out Petersen’s deal.

Steve Sarkisian is taking a chunk of the Washington coaching staff with him to USC. But the fate of defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox remains undecided. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Newly installed USC coach Steve Sarkisian is taking a chunk of the Washington coaching staff with him to Los Angeles.

Former running backs/special teams coach Johnny Nansen, linebackers coach Peter Sirmon and cornerbacks coach Keith Heyward have joined the Trojans.

Sarkisian hasn’t said whether each will assume the same position they held at UW, but Friday Sarkisian made a statement through the school announcing the hires.

“I’m fired up to have Johnny, Keith and Peter join the staff,” he said. “We’re on the right path to putting together one of the best coaching staffs in America.”

Sarkisian’s successor, Chris Petersen, is likely bringing his Boise State defensive coordinator, Pete Kwiatkowski, to Montlake, which means former UW defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox doesn’t have a clear destination.

Multiple reports indicate Wilcox will interview to replace Petersen at Boise State, though Wilcox isn’t considered a frontrunner to land the gig. Wilcox was a defensive coordinator for the Broncos under Petersen from 2006-09 , then spent two years (2010-11) at Tennessee before joining Sarkisian at the UW. In 2013, UW ranked 50th nationally in yards allowed (381.5 per game) and 38th in scoring defense (23.4 points per game).

If Wilcox doesn’t earn the Boise State job, he’ll likely join Sarkisian at USC.

Complicating a potential move to USC is Wilcox’s contract with UW. The deal requires a $1 million buyout if Wilcox leaves the school for a job that isn’t a head coaching position. Reportedly, USC wants UW to pay part of Wilcox’s buyout fee.

Sarkisian, meanwhile, wants UW defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi, considered one of the best recruiters in the country. USC is willing to foot the bill for Lupoi’s roughly $408,000 buyout.

Since Sarkisian left UW three years into his five-year contract, USC must pay his former employer $1.5 million. By comparison, the UW “only” has to pay Boise State $750,000 for hiring away Petersen.

What happens to the rest of UW’s offensive assistants is anyone’s guess. Offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto, receivers coach Eric Kiesau and tight ends coach Jordan Paopao likely won’t know their fate until Petersen decides.

Petersen’s introductory press conference is at noon Monday at UW’s football operations office. The Huskies 8-4 (5-4 Pac-12) find out where they play their fourth consecutive postseason game when bowl match-ups are announced Sunday afternoon. Leader in the speculation is the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against BYU in San Francisco Dec. 27.


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