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USC fires football coach Steve Sarkisian

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Head coach Steve Sarkisian of the USC Trojans. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — The University of Southern California fired head football coach Steve Sarkisian Monday, just a day after he was put on an indefinite leave of absence for alleged substance abuse problems.

USC athletic director Pat Haden released a statment on the school’s website Monday afternoon: 

“After careful consideration of what is in the best interest of the university and our student-athletes, I have made the decision to terminate Steve Sarkisian, effective immediately.

“I want to thank Clay Helton for stepping into the interim head coach role, and I want to add how proud I am of our coaching staff and players and the way they are responding to this difficult situation.

“Through all of this we remain concerned for Steve and hope that it will give him the opportunity to focus on his personal well being.”

Sarkisian is a former University of Washington football coach. He helped the Huskies recover from an 0-12 season in 2009, leading the team back to multiple bowl appearances before resigning to take the USC coaching position in 2013.

USC is 3-2 this season after an embarrassing incident involving Sarkisian at a pep rally in August. At the “Salute to Troy” kickoff event, where he slurred words, used an expletive, and told the crowd of athletic supporters that several opponents “sucked.” He apologized the following day.

He was placed on indefinite leave of absence Sunday after allegedly appearing unusual and perhaps intoxicated Sunday morning, multiple outlets reported. 

Sarkisian’s struggles with possible alcohol addiction go back to his time at Washington, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday, with some former Huskies telling the Times he would show up to meetings with alcohol on his breath.

His use of alcohol even became a running joke among the players, the Times reported. 

This story is breaking and will be updated as more information becomes available.