When Steve Sarkisian Left UW It Left A “Liar’s Legacy” Behind

by Dirk Knudsen | Posted on Monday, December 2nd, 2013

I have always told my kids that I hate liars.  There are a lot of bad things people do that can cause one to lose trust or faith in them.  But a Liar is the worst.  And as Steve Sarkisian bailed this morning and it blew up all over social media he was already on his way up the stairs of the McKay Center at USC for his first meeting.  I will say one thing for this guy… he has balls.  It is unclear right now what all the fall out will be but one thing is for sure.  He left a lot of kids in the lurch because he lied to them. 

Current recruits are honest; Steve Sarkisian lied to them.

Current recruits are honest; Steve Sarkisian lied to them.

Maybe his $2.25 Million a year salary was not enough.  Maybe USC double it and truly it does not matter.  The hard thing to watch is to see a lot of really great kids currently playing at the UW and being recruited by the Dawgs get their first taste of big business this way.  Big business chases the dollar.  Almost always.  And I have always hated that.

Sark is a decent coach.  A great coach?  No.  He has not done enough to prove that.

Is he a good business man?  Sure.  He went for the money.  And hell who knows what happened inside those football offices really at Montlake.  He might have been told he had one more year.  And in that case it makes sense.  He had to make this decision.

But the point is clear to these kids.  Never ever trust a Liar!

Kaleb McGary from Fife High School is one of the hottest recruits in the Nation.  At 6’8″- 270 pound this stud TE/OT is on all the radars.  And the UW had been clearly on the inside track for his selection.  We caught up to the big talent a bit earlier and in classic form he pulled no punches.

“Gotta be honest with ya man, I feel lied to.  I asked him (Sark) directly about this and he said he wasn’t going to leave,  that he wasn’t just in it for money,” said McGary clearly upset.  “I haven’t been able to get hold of Wilcox (Justin) or Lupoi (Tosh) either.”

 

Kaleb is not alone.  One of the other top 3 recruits that Sark had been targeting  had a similar reaction.

“That’s what I see.  He more or less lied to us.  Period.  And it really screws things up quite a bit,” said the 5 Star recruit.  “I am going to wait and see but right now I am very disappointed.”

McGary says he is holding out hope that the UW pulls this together and lands a Coach he can play for.  A man he can believe in.  And Kaleb says he knows who that is in his mind.

“I am going to keep a cool head.  In my perfect world Justin Wilcox is stepping in, but from what we are hearing it sounds like Lupoi and Wilcox might end up going with Sark, Said Kaleb.  “That would be  too bad…”

It’s business.  But how are these recruits and those guys being recruited by Sark at USC going to be able to ever believe anything he says?  Simple fact is they won’t.

Recruits coming from High School have been a part of the non-business “pure” side of football.  The good part that we love so much.  

This “Den of Liars” is what it is.  The coaches sell the schools and themselves and get kids to sign.  But the athletes do not have an “Out Clause” if their Coach leaves.  Maybe they should.  After all is a Coach tells you that he is “not leaving” and “not in it for the money” and “your future is here with me and the school” and then turns around and leaves is that not a breach of contract?

Should the current UW players be allowed to be released to move elsewhere if they want and not lose eligibility?  Sure they should.  If not they should be able to seek damages.  Because after all that’s just business right?

We simply can not continue to have a system where the players can not have a Union and can not be paid, are often not properly fed, are often injured for life with no disability, and are lied to as well.   Guys like McGary speaking out might be rare.  But lots of them are out there and frankly their leadership is needed.

Sark will win some games at USC.  And I am happy for the guys at USC.  He has not lied to them….yet.  But given enough time he probably will.   That is the Coaches way in so many of the cases.

The sad thing is the UW was doing such a great job of re-branding the program and with that gorgeous stadium and the killer academics there they will achieve that goal either way.  It’s too bad they have to pay for the Coach that lied.

Not all Coaches are like this.  Not all of them are liars.  But look at the Pac 12 and it is easy to see the number of new hires and coaches who have moved in the past decade.  The honest coach may not even be out there.  Mike Riley in my view is that guy.  I doubt very much he would look McGary in the face and tell him point blank “I am not going anywhere” and then leave.  I do not believe he has that in him.  And that is why his name comes up constantly when the discussion about “who do I want my son to play for” comes up.

For you boys reading this I say it again.  Never make a decision because of a man.  Make it with the understanding that this person saying these things to you is probably not going to be there.  He might be fired or leave like Sark did but you have to be happy wearing the colors of the school you cho0se.  So go for location, weather, education, location to your home, the pretty girls, the stadium, or the coffee.  Go there for any reason except the coaches.  And if they are still there when you graduate consider it a bonus.

Because facts are when you’re being recruited you are also being lied to at some level most of the time.

“It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society.  When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. ”  ~Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

I will say good luck to Coach Steve Sarkisian.  I met him a a few times and never got the best vibe from him.  He has beady eyes that dart around a lot and that is the tell tale sign of a guy planning his next move.  Is he a good coach?  Sure he is.  A great Coach?  No.  Probably not.   But I have to say I did become a bigger UW fan then I was during his tenure and it was not because of him but because of the guys he brought in.  Those are the guys tonight I am thinking the most about.  The ones not going to USC for the new adventure are going to be looking at a very uncertain future and they carried the water and did the work for Sark.  We certainly are thinking of all of them tonight and hoping for a great outcome for them all.

Best of luck to all.  VOTE IN OUR POLL BELOW!

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Dirk is a lifelong resident of the Pacific NW; athlete and Merit scholar. He runs camps, clinics, and has been a sports writer and analyst for nearly a decade now; mostly with Rivals.com as the editor of OregonPreps and WashingtonPreps.com. Dirk is the founder of NWPR & BrainChampions.org; a charity for injured athletes suffering from Brain Trauma / Concussion. He is a father of three and married.

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  1. Jeff says:

    Good piece Dirk. The other side of the coin, unfortunately is that these coaches get fired sometimes quickly for not producing results. It many times is out of their hands, injuries etc. They also need to watch out for themselves and their best interests a bit as well. Is that good for the kids? Clearly, no. But as you point out, it is a big business and I don’t seeing these abrupt coaching changes to change. I think that is the point your making to the kids- go for the school or whatever, not the coach. Thanks.

  2. Gary says:

    Is a person not justified to change their mind?

  3. jimmy f says:

    Nice article Dirk. Just to play devil’s advocate a bit, aren’t the schools just as culpable as the coaches? Look at Washington, Sark left them high and dry. But Washington just did this to Cal the year before with Tosh, and then what do they do after Sark leaves? Go and dangle an offer in front of Jim Mora at UCLA. With that being said, I would love a third option on your poll: Both. Sark is a rat of an individual (as is the whole crew of Carol and Kiffen) but it’s also part of the business for colleges to dangle the cheese in front of the rats and for them to take the largest chunk. Athletes are the disregarded workforce.

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