Sarkisian replaces Lane Kiffin, who was fired after a 3-2 start to the 2013 season.
Sarkisian, originally from Torrance (Calif.), coached at Washington for the last five seasons. He led the Huskies to a 34-29 record and three bowl games in his tenure.
In his first season at Washington in 2009, Sarkisian finished with a 5-7 record: the Huskies were 0-12 the previous season before he took over.
They followed with three straight seven win seasons before Sarkisian broke the eight win mark in 2013, finishing 8-4 overall, 5-4 in the Pac-12.
Prior to coaching at Washington, Sarkisian served as Pete Carroll's quarterbacks coach from 2002-03 before leaving for Oakland as the Raiders quarterbacks coach. He returned to USC under Carroll from 2007-08 with multiple coaching duties for the Trojans offense.
Sarkisian and Kiffin were both members of USC's staff during the Trojans dominating seasons in the early 2000s.
When asked about the coaching vacancy at USC in early October, Sarkisian said: I have great respect for USC and the rich history and tradition they have. But I'm proud to be the head coach of the 15th-ranked team in America right now and all the hard work we've put into this program the last five years to get to this point to be in an awesome matchup on national television this Saturday night against a national championship contender in Stanford.