LOS ANGELES—Southern California head football coach Steve Sarkisian issued an apology for his drunken behavior at a booster event on Saturday, August 22.
According to sources, Sarkisian was intoxicated during his speech at USC’s Salute To Troy event, an annual rally at the beginning of every USC football season with big-money donors and alumni.
The second-year head coach used profanity, insulted other programs and slurred his words while speaking on a podium to those in attendance. USC athletic director Pat Haden reportedly had to pull Sarkisian off stage and assistant coaches finished the speech for him.
“I sincerely apologize to my players and staff and to our fans for my behavior and my inappropriate language at our kickoff event Saturday night,” Sarkisian said in a statement released via the school’s sports blog on August 23. “I have a responsibility to all of them and I let them down. Pat Haden talked to me after the event about my actions and I assured him this will not happen again.”
Sarkisian held a press conference on August 25 addressing the incident.
“The moral of the story is this…when you mix meds with alcohol, sometimes you say and/or do things that you regret and I regret it,” said Sarkisian.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry to all of our fans and donors, and all of the people that were in attendance. But, I’m going to move forward and we’re going to be great.”
Sarkisian said he does not believe he has a drinking problem, but he will go to treatment, deal with what happened and swore to not drink alcohol throughout the rest of the 2015 football season.
“But, in the meantime, I’m going to be the head football coach here and I believe I can be.”
Two USC players, quarterback Cody Kessler and linebacker Su’a Cravens, spoke to media as well about the incident.
“He came to us as a man and apologized, looked us into the face and told us some things,” Kessler said. “That’s hard to do, but, at the end of the day, I think he earned more respect from us as a team. I think it brought us closer together.”
Southern California was selected as the preseason favorite to win the Pac 12 and is ranked No. 10 in the Preseason Coaches.