Advertisement

Surprise and heartbreak: How people are responding to Steve Sarkisian's firing

Surprise and heartbreak: How people are responding to Steve Sarkisian's firing
USC Coach Steve Sarkisian, left, walks off the field after losing to Washington, 17-12, at the Coliseum on Oct. 8. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

USC fired Steve Sarkisian on Monday, one day after announcing he had been placed on an indefinite leave of absence after missing a Sunday practice.

The former Trojans football coach had been under a careful watch since August when he appeared intoxicated -- slurring his words and using expletives -- during a speech at the program's annual family banquet, the "Salute to Troy."

Advertisement

Former USC quarterback Todd Marinovich, who has dealt with substance abuse issues, said in an interview on HuffPost Live he wasn't surprised to hear Sarkisian had been fired.

"What is ironic is I was at the Salute to Troy, which is an event that goes on in August which became big news. And I spoke with Coach Sarkisian prior to him going on stage," Marinovich said. "And of all the people that could be there it was me, and I just felt this urge to protect him because I knew with my history of abuse of substances I knew he was intoxicated and I wanted to protect him. And I went to the people in charge and I said, 'We got to stop this.' And, as you know, I didn't have any success in doing so and it was an embarrassing moment, which I've had. And I've had them in front of the country to see and that's not an easy place to be. So my heart goes out to him and his family."

Marinovich continued: "I'm extremely empathetic to him and his situation, as you know, with my history. And I just try to sit in a place of no blame, no judgment. And it just screams to me that he's in pain and needs help. Prior to his firing I felt it was the university's position, or really their responsibility, to help the man. Now [with] him no longer being a part of the university it's his friends and family that need to rally around him."

Former USC coach Pete Carroll spoke about Sarkisian's situation with the Trojans on ESPN radio a few hours before his termination was announced.

"It breaks my heart to see how this has gone," said Carroll, who is the coach of the Seattle Seahawks, on radio station KIRO. "But he recognizes it and he's going to do something about it, so this is the day the turn occurs.

"I'm grateful for everybody around him that he's finally figured it out. ... This is going to take a long time. This is big battle and we'll pull for him all the way."

LenDale White, who was critical of the USC coaching staff during a victory last year against Arizona, shared more of his thoughts Monday on Twitter.

"Thoughts and prayers go out to Coach Sark. Believing in a quick and speedy recovery. FIGHT ON!" former punter Kyle Negrete (with the 2010-12 Trojans) tweeted.

Marc Tyler, who was with the Trojans from 2007-11, wrote: "Prayers out to coach sark and definitely his kids! Tough situation I hope he gets the help he needs. You never know what someone is going through it's easy to judge but we all have our issues. Sark is a good guy I wish him the best!"

The actions at USC did not appear to be lost some Trojans commits, including Josh Imatorbhebhe, a senior receiver at North Gwinnett (Ga.).

MORE ON USC

Advertisement

Follow Matt Wilhalme on Twitter @mattwilhalme

Advertisement
Advertisement