STEVE SARKISIAN was named the head coach at Southern California yesterday, leaving Washington to return to the Trojans' storied football program for another run at national titles.

Two days after USC's regular season ended with a home loss to UCLA, Trojans athletic director Pat Haden replaced interim coach Ed Orgeron with yet another assistant coach from Pete Carroll's championship-winning era at the school.

Sarkisian, 39, is a Los Angeles-area native who went 34-29 in five seasons at Washington, rebuilding a decimated program into a bowl contender. He is the permanent replacement for Lane Kiffin, his former co-offensive coordinator at USC under Carroll.

Sarkisian will be introduced at a news conference today. In a statement released by USC, the coach thanked the Huskies for his first head-coaching opportunity.

"I am extremely excited to be coming home to USC and for the opportunity that USC presents to win championships," Sarkisian said.

Kiffin was fired in late September and replaced by Orgeron, who didn't get the permanent job from Haden despite going 6-2. Crosstown rival UCLA trounced USC, 35-14, Saturday in what turned out to be the Trojans' final game under Orgeron, who resigned yesterday after failing to get the top job.

Haden didn't immediately announce who will coach the Trojans in their bowl game later this month, but it could be Sarkisian.

Noteworthy

* The Big Ten office decided not to suspend any players or coaches in the wake of a fight in Saturday's game between No. 2 Ohio State and archrival Michigan.

* The Big Ten issued a public reprimand of Nebraska coach Bo Pelini and fined the university $10,000 for Pelini's comments about the officiating in a loss to Iowa last week. University spokeswoman Chris Anderson said the money will come out of Pelini's compensation. Pelini used an expletive at his postgame news conference while discussing a pass-interference penalty.

* Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe resigned after 13 seasons at the school. Grobe, 61, has a career record of 110-115-1 in a combined 19 years at Wake Forest and Ohio. He was 77-82 with the Demon Deacons.

* Dick Biddle, the winningest football coach in Colgate history, retired after 18 stellar seasons and seven Patriot League titles. Biddle compiled a 137-73 record.

* Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy has declared for the NFL draft, forgoing his final year of eligibility.