Steve Sarkisian, USC Trojans coach, is taking an indefinite leave of absence after athletic director Pat Haden declared Sunday that the distressed coach is “not healthy.”
After Sarkisian failed to show up for practice on Sunday, Haden called for an emergency press conference to address the situation. “This has all kind of happened very quickly,” Haden said. “I got a call that Coach Sarkisian wasn’t at practice. I just learned about this about 1 o’clock (Pacific Time). I called Steve. I talked to him. It was very clear to me that he is not healthy.”
“I asked him to take an indefinite leave of absence, and Clay Helton will serve as our interim head coach. Clay is undefeated as our head coach, as you know. I think it’s the right thing for our team. I’ve got to always do what’s right for our team and our school,” added Haden.
According an ESPN report, Sarkisian arrived late at practice and appeared to be intoxicated.
This news shouldn’t come as a surprise. In a pre-season booster event, Sarkisian was reprimanded for appearing drunk with Haden having to pull him from the stage during a speech. Following that incident, Sarkisian assured that he “would not drink for the remainder of the season.”
The Trojans also reportedly went so far as to ban alcohol from the locker room.
Sarkisian is 12-6 during his tenure leading the Trojans, who were dropped from the AP Top 25 after losing 17-12 to Washington last Thursday.
Haden said he informed the players of the change in a team meeting.
Am told by multiple sources Steve Sarkisian showed up in no condition to work today & #USC brass knows he needs serious help.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) October 11, 2015