The University of Southern California has fired head football coach Steve Sarkisian, the school announced on Monday.
Here is the full statement from athletic director Pat Haden:
“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.
“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.
“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 initially said on Sunday that he had asked Sarkisian to take an indefinite leave of absence after learning that the coach had failed to show up to practice.
“I got a call that Coach Sarkisian was not at practice,” Haden told the media. “I called Steve and talked to him. It was very clear to me that he is not healthy. I asked him to take an indefinite leave of absence.”
Before missing practice in the afternoon, Sarkisian did attend a meeting in the morning. Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports reports that multiple sources told him Sarkisian “showed up in no condition to work.”
ESPN took it a step further, reporting that Sarkisian showed up to the team facilities “appearing to be intoxicated.”
A player told ESPN via text that Sarkisian “showed up lit to meetings again today.” Another source said he showed up Sunday morning and “appeared not normal,” and then was told to leave.
Before the season, Sarkisian announced he would receive treatment after admitting he mixed alcohol and unspecified medication during a donor event. At the time, Sarkisian announced he would not drink alcohol the rest of the season.
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