Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has reached out to friend and protege Steve Sarkisian at what is the lowest point of Sarkisian’s career, if not his life.
“This is an opportunity for Sark to get right, to get well,” Carroll said Monday, about 90 minutes after USC announced it has fired Sarkisian.
Sunday USC athletic director Pat Haden had placed the former University of Washington coach on indefinite leave for being unfit for work.
As Carroll, USC’s former head coach who hired Sarkisian for his first coaching job 14 years ago, was speaking at Seahawks headquarters Monday more news came out from SB Nation that Sarkisian was checking into a “residential treatment facility” to treat an alcohol issue. Sarkisian had spoken of that issue in August following his slurred speech and profane language while addressing a USC preseason event.
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“Pullin’ for him,” Carroll said of the man he hired in January 2001 to be an offensive assistant at USC. “He’s got some big challenges, and he’s got to go take care of them. It’s not about coaching now. It’s about him personal life and getting things in order. I know he’s committed to taking the right steps to do that. And this is hugely important.”
Carroll, 64, said he’s been in contact in recent days with the 41-year-old Sarkisian. In 2002 at USC he promoted Sarkisian to become the Trojans’ quarterback coach, then made him SC’s offensive coordinator in 2008.
I asked Carroll how he can be a friend to Sarkisian and assist him at this time in which Sarkisian is also going through a divorce. He and his wife of 18 years, Stephanie, have three children ages six through 12.
“I’ll be here to support him,” Carroll said. “I know him (from) before, and there’s a lot to offer the world. And it’s been hard on him. And he’s made it hard on people around him, too. He knows that. He’s aware of that. He’s got to take the step to take care of business now.”