Troy Is Still Burning


“I called Steve and he made it clear to me that he was not healthy, and I asked him to take an indefinite leave of absence. I think this is the right thing for our team.

Troy is still burning despite any report to the contrary. How can it not be? Southern Cal has placed its head coach

Steve Sarkisian on an indefinite leave of absence

. For the second time in three years, the Trojans are without their head coach after another 3-2 start, and will continue with an interim head coach.

Of course this all starts back this summer when an intoxicated Sarkisian made a fool of himself at an alumni event. Instead of any type of real punishment, Southern Cal Athletic Director Pat Haden did basically nothing. He “helped” Coach Sarkisian by letting him get help- but no real consequences. No suspension and only a meek apology to its team, alumni, and fans.

Mar 3, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian (left) and athletic director Pat Haden at spring practice at Cromwell Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This completely confused most of those who follow college football. Had this incident involved a player, surely a one game suspension would be in order. Instead, Sarkisian left it to the players to decide his fate and they chose some “up-downs” as physical punishment.

All was “well” as USC pounded their first two opponents, Arkansas State and Idaho. Then, the Trojans dropped a game at home to Stanford in which USC was a double digit favorite. After rebounding on the road and crushing Arizona State, USC returned home to face the Washington Huskies and the Trojans were double digit favorites to win that game as well. Washington defeated USC on that Thursday night, and the rock was seen hovering just above the bottom.

The rock hit the bottom with Steve Sarkisian firmly attached. Sarkisian was rumored to have been intoxicated at USC facilities, and on Sunday he was not at practice. Sarkisian has been going through a divorce and sources have come forward to tell reporters that it has been extremely difficult for the embattled coach.

“I called Steve and he made it clear to me that he was not healthy, and I asked him to take an indefinite leave of absence. I think this is the right thing for our team.” Pat Haden said.

USC hands the reigns over to offensive coordinator, Clay Helton to be the interim head coach. This all is happening before the big rivalry game against Notre Dame in South Bend.

Although the Trojans handed Notre Dame an embarrassing 49-14 loss last year, one can’t help but see the trajectory of both these teams going in opposite directions. For Notre Dame, the arrival of Brian Kelly has added stability and got the program to come withing striking distance of achieving the ultimate goal at Notre Dame. For USC, since Pete Carroll left at the end of the 2009 season, it has seen 2 different head coaches and 2 different interim head coaches put in place after the 5th game of a season.

At some schools, maybe this wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Not at Southern Cal. How can one of the premiere programs of the 2000’s fall so hard so fast? One doesn’t have to look far to see Pat Haden- and he’s holding a gas can and a lighter. His choices and decisions over the past 6 years have took the flame of sanctions and turned them into an inferno with no help in sight.

It’s a shame, now that Notre Dame is once again on the rise, just as USC is on another decline. This rivalry deserves better- just as it deserved better during the Willingham and Weis years. Troy is burning, and a it has claimed another victim in Steve Sarkasian.