After Sark: Who Will Lead The Huskies Onto The Field Next Season - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

After Sark: Who Will Lead The Huskies Onto The Field Next Season

Following the departure of the University of Washington's head coach Steve Sarkisian to the University of Southern California, the question of who will fill his shoes next season is looming large. 

Sarkisian will not coach the Huskies in their to-be-determined bowl game. No interim head coach has been named, with the likely candidate being UW defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, who is rumored to follow Sarkisian to USC and fill the same position with the Trojans. Though, no contract has been offered to Wilcox yet. All that is to be known is it will be an assistant coaching the team in the bowl game.

Washington's athletic director, Scott Woodward has stated that the search for Sark's successor has already begun.

“I will work hard in the coming days to find the absolute best fit for the University of Washington but I will not comment on or speculate about the process,” Woodward said in a statement. “We have tremendous tradition, fan base and a world-class institution, and I am confident we will find the right man. We will compete for Pac-12 and national championships and we will do so with class, integrity, sportsmanship and a commitment to our student-athletes.”

Among likely candidates are UCLA head coach Jim Mora (offered), Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel, Boise State head coach Chris Petersen, Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin and Wilcox. 

Followed is a look at all of the candidates, their Husky ties and why they would want the job. 

Jim Mora: The Bruins' head coach has expressed interest in this position before. In 2006 on a Seattle-based radio broadcast Mora stated that being the head coach of the Huskies would be his "dream job." Of course later he admitted that was in jest. Yesterday he was reportedly been offered the position and today Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports reported that Mora was going to be staying at UCLA. Sorry Husky fans, he's not coming. Though Sark said that he was looking forward to coaching at UW next season on Monday, and by Tuesday he was in LA. (Since this article was written Jim Mora has accepted a 6-year extension at UCLA).

Doug Nussmeier: The current Bama OC and former Washington OC will likely be the next man offered the position. Nussmeier has recent experience on the west coast as he was Sarkisian's offensive coordinator from 2009-11 and was the OC at Fresno State in 2008. Nussmeier played football at Idaho and is a native of Portland, Ore. Nussmeier could have just come off coaching a Heisman quarterback in A.J. McCarron, if he wins, and has National Championship experience. Not to mention the invaluable experience he gained coaching under Alabama's Nick Saban. The big detractor in hiring Nussmeier is that he has never been a head coach before, but everyone has to start somewhere. A bonus would be with the Huskies losing three-year starter Keith Price, Nussmeier is one of the best men in the country at getting the most out of a quarterback. 

Gary Pinkel: The current man in charge at Missouri doesn't seem likely to leave a position in the Southeastern Conference, especially since he helped guide the Tigers into the SEC and has been in Columbia, Mo. since 2001. Or does he? In a recent press conference he walked out when asked about Washington's vacancy. Pinkel was the offensive coordinator at UW under Don James from 1984-90 before leaving to be the head coach at Toledo from 1990-2000. He is the most experienced coach the Huskies are looking at by far--which has it's obvious positives and negatives. He seems to be more of a rumor at this point, but walking out of a press conference seems a little bit of a strange reaction if he hasn't been reached out to by Woodward at the very least. 

Chris Petersen: It seems like Petersen is Bronco football at Boise State, he has been at BSU since 2001 and been the HC since 2006. But a move to Washington could offer him a better shot at a National Championship and a chance to coach in a better conference, the Pac-12. The fact that Petersen is always rumored to make a move to the Huskies also makes it hard to see him finally make one.  If anything he could bring in a great recruiting base to the Huskies. Petersen does have a 95-12 record as a head coach and would demand wins from the Huskies. Petersen seems like a long shot and any offer could force Boise State to give him another lucrative extension. It is doubtful BSU would let him leave without putting up a fight seeing as they have raised his salary three times in his tenure as the Broncos head coach. 

James Franklin: Vanderbilt won't like letting him go. He has been given two contract extensions and pay bumps in the last two seasons already, though none is likely after this season, before he enters into his third year coaching in the SEC. Franklin is 23-15 in his three seasons at Vandy and that's saying something for the oft forgotten members of the SEC East. He doesn't have much west coast experience (was the Washington State receivers coach in 1998), but has coached at the NFL level with the Green Bay Packers. He would love to come to a recruiting mecca like UW where he can offer things he doesn't even dream about at Vanderbilt. Like brand new facilities and a chance for a conference championship in the Pac-12, where as Vandy recruits would laugh at him if he offered that to them with SEC giants like Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Missouri, Auburn, Texas A&M--basically any team on any given year in the conference--having a better shot than Vandy. Like Petersen, he will likely won't be let go of without a fight. 

Justin Wilcox: He is the man on the inside. Like Nussmeier he has never been a head coach, but this is Wilcox's second stint as a defensive coordinator at a Div. I school (he was the DC at Tennessee from 2010-11), so he has that going for him. He also coached linebackers at the University of California from 2003-05 and probably picked up some recruiting contacts in that process. Wilcox also played at Oregon from 1996-99. Basically, he gets Pac-12 football. He is the son of Hall of Fame linebacker, Dave Wilcox, and can be trusted to know the game. The issue would be finding an offensive coordinator to pair with him. Coach Sarkisian wants to bring Wilcox with him to USC and from a career standpoint, that might be the better move for the DC (speaking financially and from an experience standpoint). Wilcox will be a head coach someday, but it doesn't seem likely he will be the next coach of the Huskies. 

The decision will likely come out as soon as possible. A few other candidates worth mentioning are Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter and former USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron.

DeRuyter has led the Bulldogs to 9-4 and 10-1 seasons so far in his two years in charge. He was also the assistant head coach and DC at Texas A&M and was a candidate to be the Aggies HC after he coached them in their 2011 bowl game before Kevin Sumlin accepted the job that same year. 

While no reports have linked Orgeron to the job, Washington has a Pac-12-low seven commits for the upcoming 2014 season and the former Ole Miss head coach and long time USC assistant is known for his recruiting abilities. Orgeron resigned on Tuesday after he was passed over by Sarkisian.