USC football is in turmoil again. This time, you can't blame it on Mike Garrett.
Garrett brought in Lane Kiffin before being replaced by Pat Haden. Haden fired Kiffin after a loss to Arizona State and many would say it was Haden cleaning up the mess that Garrett created.
The current mess at USC involving Steve Sarkisian is Pat Haden's, and Haden's alone.
Steve Sarkisian, who was Haden's hire, was fired a day after being put on temporary leave after showing up to practice in no condition to work, which is related to a drinking problem he has. Also, some assistants said that Sarkisian appeared to be drunk during the game at Arizona State back in September.
While alcoholism is a serious issue and hopefully Sarkisian gets the help he needs, it appears that his problems with alcohol didn't just start recently with the incident at a booster event in August. The L.A. Times has an article that chronicles Sarkisian's drinking habits from his coaching days at Washington.
More than 800 pages of receipts, hotel folios and expense reports obtained by The Times from Sarkisian's tenure at Washington show alcohol was a constant presence.
Along with the accounts of his drinking, former players at Washington said that they were not surprised about this.
Now, the L.A. Times can gain access to all this information for their story. Didn't Pat Haden has access to this info?
When USC hired Haden in 2010, it seemed to be a "spirited" hire. Haden is an old Trojan, just like his predecessor Mike Garrett. The former quarterback led USC to two national titles back in the 1970s. Oh, and like Garrett's hire of Kiffin, Haden hired one of Pete Carroll's former assistants.
Was this a "buddy hire"? One of those hires where Haden thought he knew enough about Sarkisian where he did not need to do an extensive background check or did he know about his drinking problem and tried to keep it under wraps?
Either way, Pat Haden failed miserably with this hire and his job should be in jeopardy.
It appears that Southern Cal wants its athletic department and football program to have close ties with the university, particularly players from the glory days of USC and past assistants during the Pete Carroll era. Having coaches or athletic directors with past ties to the college doesn't guarantee you long-term success. Just ask Notre Dame about Charlie Weis.
Speaking of Notre Dame, USC travels to South Bend to play Notre Dame this weekend. The Irish will have seen four different coaches on the Trojan sideline since 2012 after Saturday night's game.
It might pain some at the university to hear this, but Pat Haden should be fired and the next head football coach and athletic director should be outsiders. It feels like Haden either tried to keep this information under wraps, or half-assed the background check on Sarkisian.
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