SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA — USC Trojans coach and former BYU quarterback was fired Monday.
“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,” said USC Athletics Director Pat Haden in a statement Monday.
Offensive coordinator Clay Helton will take over as interim head coach.
Sarkisian was asked to take an indefinite leave of absence on Sunday. Sarkisian did not show up to practice on Sunday and when Haden called him it was clear that he “is not healthy,” Haden said in a press conference Sunday.
Haden and Helton spoke with players immediately after practice on Sunday. During the press conference Sunday, Haden said the players expressed concern for Sarkisian and their support of Helton as filling in 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 Monday. “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 did not specify what health issues Sarkisian was struggling with.
Sarkisian came under fire before the season started for his behavior at the “Salute to Troy” kickoff event, where he slurred words, used an expletive and told a crowd of supporters that several opponents sucked, KTLA reports.
Sarkisian issued an apology the next day.
At a news conference two days after the incident, KTLA reports, Sarkisian said he would seek treatment in order to determine whether he had a drinking problem.
Sarkisian was fired four days after the Trojans’ loss to the Washington Huskies at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It was the team’s second loss in five games this season.
Sarkisian was quarterback for BYU in 1996.
Read KTLA story at: Steve Sarkisian terminated as USC head football coach