The Redemption of Steve Sarkisian

A Timeline Leading to the Redemption of Sark
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2015 was a tough year for Steve Sarkisian. It began by Sarkisian showing up to a Salute to Troy event clearly under the influence and slurring his words. Sarkisian later apologized for his behavior saying, 

"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. 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."

Former USC athletic director Pat Haden released a statement at the same time saying,

"I met with Coach Sarkisian and I expressed my disappointment in the way he represented himself and the University at our Salute To Troy event. While the details of our conversation will remain between us, I am confident he heard my message loud and clear."

USC (2015) quarterback Cody Kessler and safety Su'a Cravens spoke to the media following Sarkisian's incident expressing their support and understanding for their head coach's mistake with the want to move forward. 

Unfortunately, as time went on the incidents persisted.

October 11, 2015. Pat Haden announced that Steve Sarkisian would be taking an indefinite leave of absence. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton took over as interim head coach and finished the season overall 8-6 which began the Clay Helton era at USC.

Now it's undeniable that Steve Sarkisian has had quite an impressive resume when it comes to coaching football. He began his career at USC as an assistant in 2001. He took over the quarterback coach position in 2002. After leaving to coach for the Oakland Raiders in 2004, Sarkisian found his way back to USC as an assistant head coach and quarterback coach in 2005 and eventually moved to offensive coordinator under Pete Carroll 2007/2008. Sarkisian moved to Seattle to coach the Washington Huskies in 2009 gaining eight victories in 2013 - the most of a head coach at Washington since 2000.

After leaving Washington he found himself back in Southern California this time as the head coach of the USC trojans. In 2014, his offense ranked top 25 nationally in passing efficiency, passing offense, third down conversions and scoring offense.

Following his dismissal in 2015, Sarkisian found his way down south to serve as an analyst for the Alabama Crimson Tide's 2016 season. Sarkisian left Nick Saban's staff to serve as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons in 2017 and 2018. After two years of coaching in the NFL, Sarkisian returned to Tuscaloosa as the offensive coordinator, quarterback coach, and full time signal caller. 

Everyone loves a comeback story. Granted, Sarkisian dealt with his fair share of struggles but ultimately fought to come out on the other side victorious. Now serving as the offensive coordinator at Alabama, Sarkisian is being dealt with yet another opportunity for redemption. 

On Wednesday, October 15th 2020, head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide Nick Saban announced that he tested positive for COVID-19. Steve Sarkisian will oversee preparations until Saban is cleared to return. 

CBS Sports reports that Saban mentioned, "He can call the offense. He's done a really good job of that. We're not going to make those kind of changes. We've got a very capable staff. Those guys make good game day decisions. I just kind of monitor what they do and make sure we're staying on the rails. I think we can get that done even if I'm not available."

#2 Alabama is set to play #3 Georgia, two stellar college football teams and a  competitive matchup. Steve Sarkisian holds the keys to this top ranked football team and has the opportunity to prove that he can once again lead a football program, as a head coach. 

For more USC Trojans news visit www.si.com/college/usc