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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

USC’s Steve Sarkisian To Take Temporary Leave Of Absence

In the wake of USC’s Thursday night loss to Washington, Clay Helton has been named interim head coach of the Trojans. 

Steve Sarkisian has been temporarily removed as the head coach of the USC football team. Athletic Director Pat Haden announced the news this Sunday after Sarkisian did not show up for the Trojans’ 12:30 p.m. practice. 

Haden said it was apparent Sarkisian was in no shape to be coaching this morning, saying he was clearly “not healthy.” Sarkisian will be placed on an indefinite leave of absence and offensive coordinator Clay Helton will step in as the interim head coach. 

This will be Clay Helton’s second time stepping in as head coach. He last led the Trojans to a victory at the Las Vegas Bowl last year.  “We’ll take the same approach as the last time we were in this,” Helton said in addressing the media. “It’s all about the kids, and it’s all about the Trojan Family, and that is it.” 

Though it is unclear what specifically led to the decision, it comes after much speculation over Sarkisian’s alleged issues with alcohol stemming from his episode at Salute to Troy earlier this year. The timeline for his absence is unknown at this time. 

The Trojans (3-2) will now face a tough week ahead as they deal with Sarkisian’s leave of absence and a trip to South Bend to face the University of Notre Dame (5-1). 

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