USC announced the firing of coach Steve Sarkisian on Monday, this coming one day after athletic director Pat Haden put Sarkisian on an indefinite leave of absence from the program.
Haden released the following statement Monday:
"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."
Here are 4 things to know about Sarkisian's firing:
1. Sarkisian can hopefully get treatment for his problems and get right.
Sarkisian was in his second season as the Trojans' coach and posted a 12-6 overall record at USC. This season, USC has a 3-2 record including a 17-12 loss on Saturday at home to Washington. Things were bad on the field for the Trojans this season, but clearly Sarkisian was battling much bigger issues off of it.
While there are massive implications with this move for one of college football's biggest and most prestigious programs, this is also a situation where a man has some demons he needs help with. Hopefully not coaching -- which is one of the most stressful, time consuming jobs there is -- will allow Sarkisian time to get treatment for his issues with alcohol and to get his life back on track.
2. USC is the best available job on the market, by a wide margin.
There are rarely jobs this good that come open -- especially without a plan in place for a successor -- and whoever takes over in Los Angeles will be set up for immediate success. The Trojans have a stacked roster, are off of sanctions and have a top-10 recruiting class for 2016, according to 247Sports.
Only one team in the country -- Alabama -- has better recruiting talent on the roster than USC currently does, according to 247Sports and with sanctions lifted and a full amount of scholarships available adding depth behind the studs already there should be a quick process.
3. Prepare for rumor season.
Do you root for a successful college football program? Then your coach will probably be rumored, at some point, in connection with the USC head coaching job.
It's already started, not more than five minutes after the firing.
Some names being floated: Kyle Whittingham (Utah), Rich Rodriguez (Arizona), Gary Patterson (TCU), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern) #USC— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) October 12, 2015
Those names are reasonable. You'll also see some pie in the sky suggestions, like Urban Meyer. No one is safe from USC rumors, except for one man -- Lane Kiffin. Other than that, everyone is going to be brought up in connection with this job. Just be prepared for it.
4. AD Pat Haden has to get this next hire right.
There is a reason all those big names are going to get mentioned. For one, USC has the brand and talent to lure away big names. The other reason? Pat Haden has to get this hire right to save his job -- if it's even salvagable.
Haden has already taken plenty of heat in recent years and this will just turn up the pressure on him to hire the right guy to steady the ship and bring USC back. You can bet Haden will do everything he can to land a big name. He, as much as anyone, needs USC's football program to be a contender quickly and he'll be hoping to land a big name to do that -- and also hold together the 2016 recruiting class.