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Jerry Brewer explains the thinking behind his columns and invites readers to express their views on the sports world.

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December 4, 2008 1:45 PM

Husky coaching search: Don't worry about the big names balking

Posted by Jerry Brewer

I've had some pretty good e-mail discussion with people about today's column, so I figured I'd say a few words about it here.

Despite the tone of the headline, which I didn't write, the message of the column is a hopeful one. I'm simply saying this: If the big-name coaches balk at this job because the Huskies are winless, that's OK. The reality that the Huskies may have to take a chance on a coach just might open the door to find the right candidate. A fresh face (coordinator) or an established head coach leading a non-BCS program might wind up being the best hire.

It's been a weird coaching market so far, and this coach-in-waiting trend isn't doing the Huskies any favors. Two good candidates, defensive coordinator Will Muschamp of Texas and Chip Kelly of Oregon, were eliminated because their schools promised them the head job in the future. And, of course, Jim Mora has the biggest coach-in-waiting situation that hurt the Huskies. This new trend is just another layer that makes finding a coach more difficult. It's making it near impossible to get the best assistants in the game, especially if the head coach has been around for a while.

Nevertheless, I'm still hopeful the Huskies will make a good hire. It won't be a sexy hire. It won't be someone that the public immediately knows will win, but I think that athletic director Scott Woodward and president Mark Emmert have a good feel for what the program needs and will make a sound decision.

Now that Mike Leach is out of the running, I'm leaning toward favoring USC assistant Steve Sarkisian for the job. If anyone wished the Huskies had pursued Lane Kiffin, think about this: Kiffin wasn't a candidate for the Oakland Raiders job until Sarkisian turned it down.

Hate to use Al Davis logic to make a point, but he certainly considered Sarkisian a better candidate than Kiffin at first. If Sarkisian had taken that job and failed like Kiffin did, no one would be talking about how inexperienced he is.

So, if you were intrigued by Kiffin, you should be just as intrigued by Sarkisian. He might even be better. And Kiffin was good enough to land at Tennessee. I think Sarkisian is a legitimate, solid option for the Huskies.

But even if he doesn't get the job, expect someone like Sarkisian, someone that you have to look at based on potential, to get the job. It seems there's no surefire, big-name choice available. But it doesn't mean the Huskies are out of good options.

I'm optimistic this will work out.

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