Ed Orgeron resigns, won't coach USC Trojans in bowl game

Michael Yanow/NFL
Ed Orgeron will be coaching elsewhere in 2014 after resigning from USC.

Players at USC and Washington expressed shock and disappointment at the news that Steve Sarkisian has accepted the Trojans' head-coaching job and interim coach Ed Orgeron has resigned.

ESPN reported Orgeron was "outraged" by the news, but he struck a decidedly different tone in a statement released by the school announcing the hiring of Sarkisian.

"I am grateful to the University of Southern California for the great time I had here," Orgeron said in the statement. "I'm especially grateful for the players on this year's team, the coaching staff and the Trojan Family for the way they all fought through adversity and became one. I'm also thankful for all the Trojan players and family members who have become close personal friends during my 11 years at USC. I am especially proud of this year's team and coaching staff, who had to start a new season and then bonded, played together as a family and competed like Trojans. I'll forever be grateful to the University of Southern California. Fight On!"

Orgeron went 6-2 after Lane Kiffin was fired in September, including an upset win against Stanford, but lost to rivals Notre Dame and UCLA.

Those six conference wins by Orgeron are more than Sarkisian delivered in any of his five seasons as head coach at Washington.

USC athletic director Pat Haden said in the statement released by USC that Orgeron expressed "disappointment" in the decision to hire Sarkisian.

"Ed is one of the greatest Trojans ever and we thank him for all he has done for the program," Haden said. "He and I had a very open and frank discussion. He understandably was disappointed when I told him we were going in a different direction. We talked about the possibility of him remaining at USC, but Ed wants to be a head coach and I am supportive of that. I told him I will do whatever I can to help him in that pursuit."

USC players, including defensive linemen George Uko and Antwaun Woods, took to Twitter to express their appreciation for Orgeron.

"Felt like I just lost my father," Uko tweeted.

And while sadness was the underlying emotion from Los Angeles, up in Seattle it could only be described as anger and frustration, as Washington running back Jesse Callier tweeted his reactions to Sarkisian's departure.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.