USC has fired Steve Sarkisian on Monday after asking him to take a leave of absence from the program.
#USC has terminated Steve Sarkisian’s contract
— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) October 12, 2015
USC athletic director Pat Haden addressed the media on Sunday to announce that Sarkisian would be taking a leave of absence to seek treatment for an alcohol problem. Sarkisian was not at practice on Sunday, which sparked questioning by the USC media presence. Haden addressed the media after practice.
“Through all this we remain concerned for Steve and hope it will give him an opportunity to focus on personal well being,” Haden said.
Coaches and players believe that Sarkisian has had alcohol on his breath several times this season. One time was at a booster event before the season began. Sarkisian acted drunk at the event and later issued an apology. A few weeks later, USC coaches and players believe that Sarkisian was drunk during USC’s win over Arizona State. Each incident led to further investigation by the L.A. Times.
The Los Angeles Times published an extensive article investigating Sarkisian’s use of alcohol throughout his career. Former Washington players weighed in anonymously about smelling alcohol on Sarkisian’s breath during team meetings. Former players and current NFL players Danny Shelton and Shaq Thompson exchanged tweets with their reaction to Sarkisian’s alcohol reports on Sunday.
Sarkisian was in his second year with USC and held a 3-4 record in 2015. Sarkisian led the Trojans to a 9-4 season and a bowl win during the first year as head coach. He is 46-35 all-time as a head coach and previously spent four season as the Washington Huskies head coach.