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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


USC football head coach Steve Sarkisian fired

Wally Skalij
USC head coach Steve Sarkisian yells at a referee in the fourth quarter of a 17-12 loss against Washington at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

In what has been a complete PR nightmare for USC football, head coach Steve Sarkisian has been terminated from the program.

The move was made Monday afternoon by USC athletic director Pat Haden after Sarkisian was asked to take a leave of absence from the program.

“After careful consideration of what is in the best interest of the university and our student-athletes, I have made the decision to terminate Steve Sarkisian, effective immediately,” Haden said in a statement released by USC Athletics.

Sarkisian has been rumored to have arrived to team facilities intoxicated for Sunday’s practice and was not present for the remainder of the practice.

Sarkisian has been nothing but a headline for USC over the past few months. According to ESPN, he is going through a divorce. He has also apologized for being under the influence of alcohol and painkillers at a USC function back in August.

Many members of his staff had suspected that Sarkisian was under the influence while coaching against ASU in September.

Offensive coordinator Clay Helton will take over in the mean time as interim head coach.

“I want to thank Clay Helton for stepping into the interim head coach role and I want to add how proud I am of our coaching staff and players and the way they are responding to this difficult situation,” Haden said in a statement.

Pac-12 Conference coaches around the league, as well as many respected NFL coaches, have reached out to Sarkisian in order to help him get his life back on the right track.

“I’ve gotten to know him and I really like him,” Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez said at Monday’s press conference with the media. “I hope he gets himself straightened out.”

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has reached out to his former assistant as well.

“It breaks my heart to see how this has gone,” Carroll said to ESPN. “But he recognizes it and he’s going to do something about it, so this is the day the turn occurs.”

The Wildcats will play USC on Saturday, Nov. 7 in Southern California.

“Through all of this, we remain concerned for Steve and hope that it will give him the opportunity to focus on his personal well being,” Haden said in a statement.

Follow Matt Wall on Twitter.

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