USC Football Needs More Maturity, Starting With Its Coach


Really Steve Sarkisian? For a school that didn’t need anymore off-­the-­field incidents, its head coach gave the country another reason to poke fun at USC football.

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I’m sure that there are quite a few people that don’t view saying inappropriate things as a big deal. I mean, everyone makes mistakes right? It’s not as if Sark lied about jumping off of a balcony like Josh Shaw at last year’s Salute to Troy.

Well, here’s the thing.

Salute to Troy is arguably one of the most important gatherings of the year. Administration officials, the athletic department and huge donors are all in attendance. Yet, Sarkisian couldn’t wait a mere three hours before starting his alleged heavy drinking. The consequence? He embarrassed himself, and most importantly, the university.

Sarkisian is one of the highest-­paid employees at the University of Southern California. One of his main responsibilities is to represent the university in a positive light.

Haden has many responsibilities as athletic director. Babysitting his 41-­year-­old football head coach shouldn’t be one of them.

So while people may brush this off as something that’s not a big deal, unfortunately for Sark, his actions are magnified. And doing something like this in a public forum, in the social media age, is just so stupid.

Getting drunk isn’t that big of a deal. But getting drunk at work is, considering Sark was at a public event as an employee of the university.

Sark is the leader of young men. He’s viewed as a father­-like figure to teenagers who, most likely for the first time in their lives, are living away from their parents.

These parents are trusting him with their children during an extremely important period of their lives. He needs to be a role model for his players, and show these young men how to behave properly and become adults.

Instead, he was inebriated Saturday night at a school­-sponsored event. And USC players were embarrassed about it, as reported by ESPN.

USC athletic director Pat Haden pulled Sark off the stage in the middle of his speech, and allegedly berated him for his actions. In his first season as USC head coach, Sark also had Haden come down to the sideline at Stanford in what ended up as a confrontation with the referees.

Mar 12, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Southern California Trojans athletic director Pat Haden during the first half against the Colorado Buffaloes in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference Tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Buffaloes defeated the Trojans 59-56. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Haden has many responsibilities as athletic director; babysitting his 41-­year-­old football head coach shouldn’t be one of them.

Look at the coaches at other major college football programs. Can you envision Nick Saban doing something like this? What about Urban Meyer? Or Charlie Strong or Jim Harbaugh?

The difference in maturity of those coaches compared to Sark is quite noticeable.

And players are clearly influenced by their coach’s behavior. Chris Petersen, who took over for Sark at Washington last season, kicked four Huskies off the team. He suspended players five other times. The maturity of those players clearly wasn’t up to par with Petersen’s standards.

Maybe because their previous coach was not a great role model for them.

Luckily for Sark, winning can pretty much erase anything, including help fix his reputation as a coach. He shouldn’t be suspended for this, however, this is a big wake­up call. He needs to learn that he has to establish himself as a capable and mature leader while trying to turn USC back into a national power.

When Sark signed up for the job, he also signed up to be an ambassador for the university.

Acting like a high schooler will turn off actual high school recruits from wanting to play for him. If he really wants to be the USC head coach for the long haul, he better start acting like it.

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