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Alabama hires Steve Sarkisian as an offensive analyst

Steve Sarkisian
Steve Sarkisian is headed to Alabama
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Former USC football Coach Steve Sarkisian — still locked in a legal battle with the school over his 2015 firing — will join Alabama’s staff as an analyst, the team announced Monday.

The position allows Sarkisian to watch film of games and practices and offer advice. Because of NCAA limits on staff size, he cannot coach players on the field.

“I told him we’d love to have him as part of the organization,” Coach Nick Saban said at a weekly news conference. “Look, I’ve known him for a long time and he’s a very, very good coach.”

The hire comes with baggage — Sarkisian has been out of football for almost a year since USC dismissed him for erratic behavior and alcohol-related issues.

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The 42-year-old subsequently filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the university, claiming he should have been allowed to seek treatment for alcoholism. The suit is headed for binding arbitration.

“He’s going through some personal things himself to get himself in a very positive position and wants to continue to do those things in the future,” Saban said. “Professionally, he loves coaching.”

The No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide now has two former USC coaches in the fold. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin helped his new team demolish the Trojans 52-6 on Saturday night.

Saban hinted that he will monitor Sarkisian’s off-the-field issues as the season progresses.

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“I think he understands the consequences that he deals with professionally if he has any issues or problems,” the Alabama coach said. “Hopefully he’ll be able to get back on his feet professionally and this will be beneficial to him.”

david.wharton@latimes.com

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