USC football head coach Steve Sarkisian was conspicuously absent on Sunday during practice, and now we know why.
According to Lindsey Thiry of the Los Angeles Times, Athletic Director Pat Haden has placed Sarkisian on a temporary leave of absence.
I'm told players just met w/Pat Haden and Clay Helton is interim coach as Haden has asked Sarkisian to take a temp. leave of absence #USC
— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) October 11, 2015
Sarkisian was scheduled to speak to media after practice on Sunday but obviously won’t be doing so. In his stead, offensive coordinator Clay Helton has taken over in the interim, and he was the one who gathered the team as practice ended.
Haden reportedly found out Sarkisian wasn’t at practice about a half-an-hour after practice began, per Michael Lev of the Orange County Register. He then called Sarkisian and it became clear the coach “is not healthy.”
Haden said he found out about 1 p.m. that Steve Sarkisian wasn't at 12:30 practice. Called him. Became clear to him Sark "is not healthy."
— Michael Lev (@MichaelJLev) October 11, 2015
There has been plenty of speculation about Sarkisian’s job security since August, when he combined some medications with alcohol by accident and went on an inhebriated rant at a donor event. Since then, USC has lost two games at home — first to Stanford and then again on Thursday to Washington, which could have been the last straw.
USC fired Sarkisian on Monday, per usctrojans.com.