They are lovable, inspirational and the leaders of our favorite fictional teams. The disgraced but brilliant coaches of 80’s and 90’s sports movies.
Who didn’t grow up dreaming of playing for Norman Dale, Jimmy Dugan or Gordon Bombay? But when the trope of the alcoholic coach comes off screen, the results are not so glamorous. The University of Southern California has today announced that they’ve parted ways with head football coach Steve Sarkisian.
“Sark” as he is known had taken an indefinite leave of absence after appearing to be drunk during his speech at the Trojans’ “Salute to Troy” fundraiser. It is also alleged he was less than sober during the team’s 42-14 win at Arizona State. After just one day, though, athletic director Pat Haden decided enough was enough.
Sarkisian, who was tasked with returning the men of Troy to former glories following the scandals of the Pete Carroll era and failed Lane Kiffin experiment, started off well leading USC to a respectable 9-4 record and a win in the Holiday Bowl in 2014. The Trojans had a rough start to the season this year falling to a 1-2 record in the PAC-12 and dropping both home conference games.
Sarkisian leaves with a total record of 12-6. USC will be lead by interim head coach Clay Helton as the travel to South Bend on Saturday for a tough rivalry matchup with the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The Brian Kelly-coached Irish sit 14th in national polls with a record of 5-1 and will be expected to regain the jeweled shillelagh after USC beat their long-time rivals from the Midwest 49-14 in the Coliseum on the strength of six touchdown passes from quarterback Cody Kessler.
Based on the events of today, the Trojans will have to do their best to retain the storied shillelagh with Sarkasian going forward.