Pat Haden Should Be Out At USC Along With Steve Sarkisian
Earlier in the college football season, USC coach Steve Sarkisian had a situation happen where he showed up inebriated at a USC function that was attended by USC alums and current players. It was downright embarrassing, but USC athletic director Pat Hayden did not deem it enough to get rid of Sarkisian. Instead, Haden spoke to Sarkisian and they both agreed that there would be no drinking in the coaches’ locker room. Along with that stipulation, it was also talked about that Sarkisian would enter some form of rehabilitation. At that point, Sarkisian said that he felt he did not have an issue, but that he would do what was asked of him. Well, he apparently was not taking the program seriously because of his newest incident. He apparently did not show up at practice in satisfactory condition as deemed by Haden and he was forced to take a leave of absence. The report said that he showed up drunk or still feeling the effects of liquor and that Haden deemed him “not healthy”. Well, after some time to think on the issue, Haden has made another decision. He has decided that it is time to move on from Steve Sarkisian. Haden terminated Sarkisian as coach on Monday and named offensive coordinator Clay Helton interim head coach for the rest of the season. This is a long line in coaching issues that USC has had since Pete Carroll left the Trojans for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. And much like his predecessor Mike Garrett, Haden is now under fire.
Haden has been in charge of the athletic department at USC since August 2010 and has been in charge of one hire since he has been there. Previous athletic director Mike Garrett hired Lane Kiffin to be the coach before Haden got there and many viewed that as a flop. But when Sarkisian was hired by Haden to replace him, there was some question in regards to Haden’s thought process. Well, Sarkisian has had a 12-6 record and brought some of the swagger back to the team. But in his recent alcohol transgressions, you have to wonder what background work was done when it came to hiring him. Recently, information came out that the issues with alcohol were something that did not pop up out of thin air. Apparently, the alcohol usage of Sarkisian had been something that was known since he was head coach at the University of Washington. It was reported that players would smell the odor of alcohol on Sarkisian at practice. And when the issues came about in regards to alcohol again, it seemed like some of his former players at the University of Washington were not concerned about it. Instead they thought it was commonplace for him to get a little out of control with the alcohol. Other reports have him running up tabs at PAC-12 coaching events as well. So this apparently was not an issue that just came up out of the middle of nowhere. It was something that had been there for a while. USC apparently did not care about the past issues Sarkisian had with alcohol. Instead, they hired who they wanted at all costs. And because it backfired in their faces, Haden should bear the brunt of this one. He hired essentially a functional alcoholic as the head coach and apparently did not have the slightest idea of his condition. Sarkisian is out of a job, but Haden should also be joining him soon.
As for Sarkisian, this is an unfortunate ending to his career at this point. He was a part of the Trojans staff when Pete Carroll was leading them back to relevance and national prominence. And when he returned back, it was thought he would bring back the same type of energy that Carroll brought. But instead he has now brought another black eye on the university and also on himself. His alcohol issues have taken what was a promising job and thrown it in the trash. And it is because of this, he needs to get help and get help immediately. The first sign he showed all of us that he was a functional alcoholic was when he denied that he had an issue after the incident at the pep rally. It seemed like he was in denial at that point and he was very snarky at the thoughts that he had issues with alcohol. Some thought it was overblown at the time and believed him. But unfortunately he let those that believed in him down and now he is out of a job. But make no mistake about it, he should be glad the issue came out now. What if he had continued to go forward with his habit? And as time goes on, it can get worse and worse. No one knows how bad it could have gotten with him. He could have been behind the wheel and had an accident, taking his life and someone else’s life. Hopefully with him hitting a big lull in his career, he will take this time to address his issues and get healthy. He is reportedly going to check himself into rehabilitation. Sarkisian is not a bad coach, but he may not ever reach the heights he was at again. And this is something he has to accept and move on from. He is a good coach and maybe he will get another chance. But there are no guarantees in the coaching world.
This whole incident could have turned out better for USC if it were for Haden. He was trying to bring USC back, but has instead embarrassed them. And he tried to protect his own neck by quickly going from putting Sarkisian on a forced leave of absence to terminating him. But there are many that will not miss the attempt of Haden here to make himself look like he was doing the right thing. Instead, with all the information out there are Sarkisian, his seat just got red hot. And it will only be a matter of time before he joins Sarkisian in the unemployment line.