USC football coach taking leave of absence


LOS ANGELES (AP) – Southern California coach Steve Sarkisian is taking an indefinite leave of absence, athletic director Pat Haden says.

Haden announced the decision Sunday after Sarkisian didn’t attend practice.

Offensive coordinator Clay Helton will take charge of the Trojans (3-2, 1-2 Pac-12), who have lost two of their last three games. USC visits Notre Dame on Sunday.

Haden wasn’t specific about the reasons for Sarkisian’s absence, only saying the second-year coach is “not healthy.”

Sarkisian publicly apologized before the season after he showed up drunk at a pep rally and made a slurred public statement.

Sarkisian is 12-6 leading the talented Trojans, who lost 17-12 to unranked Washington last Thursday.

Helton is in his second stint as USC’s interim coach. He led the Trojans to a Las Vegas Bowl victory in 2013.

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