Steve Sarkisian dismissed as USC head coach

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday October 12, 2015

USC has dismissed head coach Steve Sarkisian, one day after ordering him to take a leave of absence.

"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,” athletic director Pat Haden said in a statement. "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 did not show up at practice on Sunday, and reports indicated he may have been intoxicated. Haden asked Sarkisian to take an indefinite leave of absence. One day later, Sarkisian has been dismissed.

Reports of substance abuse have been around for some time, including a public incident at a booster event before this season, and more details about his time at Washington came out on Monday. Following the booster incident in August, Sarkisian said he didn't believe he had a problem with alcohol, but also that he would seek treatment. SB Nation reports Sarkisian has checked himself into "a residential treatment facility."

Sarkisian went 12-6 in less than two seasons as head coach. The Trojans went 9-4 last season and started 3-2 this year.

The LA Times reports some players learned the news over Twitter, and that position coaches are texting their players.

Stay tuned to the Coaching Search Ticker for the latest news. 

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to