The University of Southern California placed head football coach Steve Sarkisian on indefinite leave after he allegedly showed up to a Sunday team meeting still in Saturday night mode.
An unnamed player divulged to the Los Angeles Times that Sarkisian “just didn’t seem right” and a source described Sarkisian to Fox Sports as “in no condition to work” at the team meeting Sunday morning. He didn’t appear at all once practice started early Sunday afternoon.
“I called Steve and talked to him,” USC athletic director Pat Haden told the press. “It was very clear to me that he is not healthy. I asked him to take an indefinite leave of absence.”
Haden appointed offensive coordinator Clay Helton the interim head coach.
Sarkisian reportedly slurred his words during a rambling speech at an August alumni event in which he assessed various opponents with the word “sucks.” Haden allegedly pulled the coach off the stage at the event. Sarkisian blamed the incident on a bad reaction to alcohol mixing with medications and noted the emotional toll of an ongoing divorce.
The incident a followed reports that the former BYU quarterback drank in the USC locker room. Sarkisian then promised to undergo treatment and affirmed “without a doubt” his intent to coach the season as a teetotaler.
The Trojans dropped a home game 17-12 to the Washington Huskies, the team Sarkisian used to coach, on Thursday. They travel to South Bend to take on the Fighting Irish this Saturday.