Saskatchewan Roughriders

Steve Sarkisian - Quarterback - Brigham Young - 1997-99


Steve Sarkisian joined Saskatchewan in 1997 after starring at Brigham Young University. While at Brigham Young Steve had set and broken numerous school records.  The foresight of placing Steve on the Roughriders negotiation list paid of as Steve signed on as a professional prior to the '97 season.


He dressed for 3 games as a rookie in 1997. In '98 Steve backed up Reggie Slack and saw his first professional action. In limited action, Steve completed 56.5% of his passes and threw 4 touchdowns. Steve was named the clubs starter for the '99 season and struggled. He did throw 16 touchdowns for Saskatchewan but also had 21 interceptions. After the '99 season Steve retired from professional football and moved into coaching. There were expectations for Steve as a professional considering his career in college but his professional career was ultimately unfulfilled.


He lasted only 1 season in the CFL as a starter, although he had his struggles in '99 Steve ultimately decided he would rather coach than continue to learn as a CFL quarterback.


DT: You played in the Canadian Football League for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Why did you quit after just three years?
SS: I had set a goal at three years. I said I was going to take a real shot at this, and if after three years I can have a shot at getting into the NFL, I'm going to do it. But if not, I knew I always wanted to be a coach. And (getting into the NFL) didn't happen after three years.

DT: Did you know you always wanted to coach?
SS: I knew when I played that I was physically limited. But I knew that I loved the game. I got done playing in Canada, I came back to the South Bay, and became the quarterbacks coach at El Camino Junior College for coach John Featherstone. At the same time, I was selling software for an Internet based company, but I knew what I loved.


Steve had a record-setting 2-year (1995-96) career at BYU, where he was coached by former USC assistant Norm Chow. He completed 549-of-824 passes (66.6%) for 7,755 yards and 55 TDs in his career. His 162.0 career passing efficiency rating is third on the all-time NCAA list. As a senior in 1996, he led the nation in passing efficiency (173.6, the seventh best mark ever) as the Western Athletic Conference champion Cougars went 14-1 and won the 1997 Cotton Bowl. He was the WAC Offensive Player of the Year in 1996, won All-American second team honors and played in the East-West Shrine Game and Hula Bowl. As a 1995 junior, he made the All-WAC team and led BYU to the WAC title. Against Fresno State that season, he set an NCAA game completion percentage record when he hit 31-of-34 passes (91.2%).


He came to BYU from El Camino Junior College, where he starred for 2 seasons (1993-94). He was a J.C. All-American first teamer as a 1994 sophomore and won All-Mission Conference honors in 1993 as a freshman. He also played baseball (shortstop) at El Camino in 1993.


He spent the 2004 season as the quarterbacks coach with the Oakland Raiders. His quarterbacks passed for more than 4,000 yards in 2004 as Oakland ranked eighth in passing in the NFL.


Sarkisian moved on to the USC Trojans in Feburary of 2005 as the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach.

-- statistics --



Steve Sarkisian     Brigham Young
Yr Team Att Cmp Yds Pct. TD Int Lg
1998 Sask 92 52 604 56.5 4 4 39
1999 Sask 290 165 2,290 56.9 14 21 69
Total 2 382 217 2,894 56.8 18 25 69


Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1998 Sask 6 32 5.3 11 0
1999 Sask 39 169 4.3 19 1
Total 2 45 201 4.5 30 1