They finished building the coaching staff and it definitely will have a hybrid of a Pete Carroll, John L. Smith, and Nick Holt type of personality.
The staff has a definite Idaho flavor since six of the new coaches have been a Vandal at one time or another. You have some serious Dennis Erickson, Keith Gilbertson, Chris Tormey, John L. Smith and Nick Holt vibes going on here.
Idaho has been a hotbed for developing young coaches over the years. When you have four solid coaching regimes to build off of you create a lot of opportunity as the head men move up.
The new leadership in strength and administrative support is 100 percent USC bred. Jared Blank was named director of player personnel. Dennis Slutak was named as director of football operations. Ivan Lewis was brought in to replace Trent Greener as head of the strength and conditioning program.
The Huskies plan to adopt what has been working on and off the field at USC and add some new wrinkles that will work best with the present personnel at Washington. Expect most of March to be spent on evaluating present personnel to see exactly where they will fit in over the Spring.
Head Coach Steve Sarkisian (OC USC)
Steve Sarkisian is 34 years old and this is his first head coaching opportunity. Sarkisian is regarded as a premier QB coach who spent the last two years coordinating the USC offense under Pete Carroll.
Some USC fans weren't sad to see him go even though he has had a large hand in developing a string of USC QB's who have been first round draft choices.
Some fans said the offense was too predictable under Sarkisian but Coach Carroll obviously made the call on that choosing to let his defense win games. For the most part it has worked and USC would have been in another BCS championship game if they hadn't have stumbled to Oregon State this year.
I think Sarkisian was an excellent and unexpected hire. Washington fans have fallen in love him over the last six weeks. They have liked his moves so far and they admire the way he has hit the recruiting trail. He put together a great coaching staff without the benefit of a big coaching tree and the hire of Nick Holt really helped take it up a notch,
Sarkisian has all the fans and media excited because he is going to open up practices all season long. I am sure there will be some instances when he runs closed practices but Sark likes his players playing in front of an audience.
Offensive Coordinator OL coach Jim Michalczik (OC/OL California)
The Northwest native and WSU graduate from Port Angeles returns home after spending a number of years building all conference offensive lines at California. Jim was a big time hire who was paid a then record $350,000 per year to come to Washington.
Michalczik spent the last seven years as California's offensive line coach and was co offensive coordinator last season. Before that he was at Oregon State where he served as the OL coach for two years. The former WSU player started his coaching career under Keith Erickson at Miami in 1990 before moving to Montana State for six years.
Michalczik is known as an excellent recruiter and he proved himself well at Cal as he was part of the resurgence into a contender under Jeff Tedford. He will be handing the state of Washington and he has excellent ties to the coaches in this state.
Quarterback Coach Doug Nussmeier ( OC Fresno State)
Sarkisian said he wanted to bring in a quality QB coach and he got one of the very best in the West in Doug Nussmeier. Doug has six years of NFL experience as a quarterback.
He started his coaching career under John L. Smith at Michigan State before moving on to be QB coach with the St Louis Rams for two seasons. He spent last season at Fresno State as the offensive coordinator.
This was hire was very important because it gives the impression that Washington is going to have lots of expertise grooming QB's in the future. Guys like Jake Locker and recruit Jake Heaps should be excited to work with a staff like this.
Running Back Coach Joel Thomas (RB Purdue)
Joel Thomas is another guy in the John L Smith/ Nick Holt coaching tree who actually played under Chris Tormey while he was head coach of the Vandals.
Thomas was a running back at Idaho from 1995 to 1998. He is the Vandals' career leader with 765 rushing attempts, 3,929 rushing yards and 51 rushing touchdowns. As a senior, Thomas was named the Big West Conference Player of the Year by the Football News.
Thomas spent two years at Idaho as co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach under Nick Holt. In 2002 and 2003, Thomas was running backs coach at Louisville under John L. Smith,. The Cardinals ranked 10th nationally in rushing offense - averaging 228.2 yards per game - during the 2003 season.
Joel spent the last three years working under former WSU assistant and Purdue head coach Joe Tiller. I like that association best on his resume because Tiller was an excellent offensive mind.
Wide Receiver Coach Aaron Roderick (WR Utah)
Roderick's and Sarkisians playing careers may have briefly overlapped while they were at BYU. That seems to be the only thing they have in common.
During the past four seasons under Roderick, five Ute receivers have caught at least 20 passes, and the 2005 and 2007 teams featured a pair of receivers with 50-plus catches. 2008 saw four Utes with at least 30 catches each, led by Freddie Brown, who had 77 grabs for 900 yards.
Before joining the Ute staff, Roderick spent the 2003-04 seasons as the offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator at Southern Utah, where he conducted one of the better Division I-AA offenses. Southern Utah ranked No. 21 in the nation in total offense in 2004, averaging 412.5 yards per game. The Thunderbirds also averaged 270.5 passing yards per game (14th in the nation) to set a new school passing record.
Prior to his stint at SUU, Roderick coached the running backs at Snow College in 2002. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at BYU, assisting with the linebackers in 1999 and the receivers in 2000 and 2001.
Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt (DC USC)
This was a big hire for Sarkisian. He found the right guy he could work with long term as a partner in rebuilding Husky football. We have written a lot about Holt and that is because he is an impact hire at a record $700,000 per year.
The former Idaho head man and long time USC assistant moved here to finally get his opportunity to run his own show with all the resources necessary to be successful. Holt would like to use this job as a launching pad for a BCS head coaching job of his own.
Holt definitely got his guys. He has coached with every single member of the defensive staff at one time or another.
Defensive Line Coach / Special Teams Johnny Nansen ( DL Idaho)
After graduating from Washington State in 1997, Nansen returned home to Long Beach where he assumed the position of defensive coordinator at Long Beach Carillo High School.
After only a year in California, Nansen made the leap to college coaching when he accepted the position of graduate assistant defensive line coach at the University of Louisville, which is where he made his first Idaho connection with former Vandal coach Nick Holt.
After a year at Louisville, he returned to the West where he coached for one season at Montana State before moving on to Idaho State University where he remained for three seasons. He has been at Idaho for the past four seasons.
Nansen is already making a big impact out on the recruiting trail. His expertise in Hawaii will help quite a bit over the next few years.
Linebacker Coach Mike Cox (LB St Louis Rams)
Mike Cox most recently worked under Scott Linehan for the St. Louis Rams. Cox is a Northwest native who coached under John L.Smith at Idaho, Louisville, and Michigan State.
Cox was a four-year letterman at Idaho from 1983-86 and a three-year starter at linebacker, playing for both Dennis Erickson and Keith Gilbertson. He still ranks among the Vandals’ all-time leaders with 252 career tackles.
Cornerback Coach Demetrice Martin (DB Mount San Antonio JC)
Demetrice was a former grad assistant at USC and who spent last season at Mount San Antonio JC will be the new UW CB coach. I have heard some very good things about Martin who is very highly regarded.
One source told me that he may just be the best young secondary coach in the country and they just didn't have enough room for him on the staff at USC. If UW had not have hired him he would have been a good bet to have been hired full time at USC in the near future.
Martin will recruit the LA area and his experiences and ties with JC's in the area has already been a big help in recruiting this season.
Safety Coach Jeff Mills (DC Youngstown State)
Mills has coached on the defensive side of the football the past 15 years. In that span he spent eight seasons with the Idaho Vandals, four with Nevada and three at Montana State. He was on Dennis Erickson's last Idaho staff. Most recently he was the DC at Youngstown State under Jon Heacock.
Mills is a Northwest native who played football at Western Washington University before going in to coaching. Mills started working this past week.