USC has fired head coach Steve Sarkisian following the announcement of his leave of absence regarding his health and his alleged behavior under the influence of alcohol while at work, the school announced 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.
'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's 2015 season was cut short when USC athletic director Pat Haden told him to take a leave of absence, saying Sarkisian was "not healthy." Sarkisian also dealt with personal problems this offseason. He apologized for apparent drunken behavior at a booster event and promised to seek treatment at the time.
"Steve Sarkisian is aware of the termination and is deeply disappointed," a source close to the coach told SB Nation's Cyd Zeigler. "But right now his No. 1 priority is getting himself well. To that end, he has checked himself into a residential treatment facility. He's grateful for all the support that will help him get through this difficult time."
It seems that USC acted very quickly, as some players were finding out about the news on Twitter.
Some #USC players are finding out via Twitter that Sarkisian is fired. Position coaches also have texted their players.— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) October 12, 2015
It is also possible that the allegations from Sunday are not the only ones that could surface from Sarkisian's tenure.
Source on why #USC & Pat Haden made the move now to fire Sarkisian & was told they'd learned that more bad behavior had occurred/may surface— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) October 12, 2015
The Trojans have had a disappointing 2015 season so far, starting off 3-2 with losses to at-the-time unranked Stanford and Washington. This comes in a year when USC was expected to be a College Football Playoff contender and was ranked as high as sixth in the nation, behind star quarterback Cody Kessler and a talented roster.
Sarkisian took over for Lane Kiffin beginning in the 2014 season, and he has yet to show that he can make the Trojans elite. He has been recruiting very well, but the wins have yet to show up. Sarkisian was often known as "Seven-win Sark" at Washington after turning the Huskies' program around, because he could never get it over the hump.
Before taking the head coaching job at USC, Sarkisian was Washington's head coach from 2009-2013. He was USC's offensive coordinator under Pete Carroll in 2007 and 2008 and the quarterbacks coach for two years before that. Clay Helton will be USC's interim coach, as announced after Sarkisian went on leave.