USC fires football coach Steve Sarkisian – USA TODAY
Steve Sarkisian is out at Southern California.
A day after Sarkisian was ordered to take a leave of absence, athletic director Pat Haden announced that the coach has been terminated.
“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 the school.
“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.”
Sarkisian, whose team fell to 3-2 after losing to Washington last Thursday night, was reprimanded and apologized in the preseason for appearing drunk at the “Salute to Troy” booster event in which Haden had to pull him off the stage during a speech.
Sarkisian was 12-6 overall at USC.
Sarkisian, a former BYU quarterback who played in the CFL, was an assistant under Pete Carroll on the Trojans’ great teams of the previous decade. Coaching alongside Lane Kiffin, Sarkisian ran USC’s offense before getting hired by the University of Washington to take over a winless program in 2009.
Sarkisian rebuilt the Huskies into a regular bowl team, but couldn’t lift them among the Pac-12’s elite. The Torrance, Calif., native left Washington to return to USC after Haden fired Kiffin five games into the 2013 season and then told interim coach Ed Orgeron that he wouldn’t get the full-time job.
Helton, the offensive coordinator,Â has taken over as interim head coach. Helton is in his second stint as USC’s interim coach. He led the Trojans to a Las Vegas Bowl victory in 2013, a calendar year in which the Trojans had four different head coaches.
This is the second midseason firing under Pat Haden’s watch as USC athletic director. Haden fired Kiffin five games into the 2013 season.
The Trojans face No. 15 Notre Dame on Saturday.
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