There was nothing but well wishes from two of Steve Sarkisian’s former college players as the now-fired Southern Cal coach battles alcoholism.
Rookie linebacker Shaq Thompson was recruited to Washington when Sarkisian was the head coach, and third-year defensive end Wes Horton was directly recruited by Sarkisian when he was the quarterbacks coach at Southern California in the late 2000s.
“I just hope he gets better,” Thompson said. “Sark is a great person and a great coach. We never had any bad intentions between us. I hope he gets better and I hope he gets back to coaching.
“He’s a great person. I loved to play for him.”
Sarkisian was placed on leave earlier this week and fired the next day after further problems for the coach with alcohol surfaced. He had just coached the Trojans to another disappointing loss, and the 3-2 Southern Cal team had fallen well short of preseason expectations.
On top of that, Sarkisian has reportedly been dealing with a divorce.
“We all just have support for him. He’s had a rough year with a lot of stuff going on with the divorce and high expectations at USC,” said Horton, who added he saw no signs of alcoholism in Sarkisian when Horton played for the Trojans. “It’s unfortunate that it came down to this, but we all have his back. It’s a Trojan family. No matter how ugly the situation, we’re all going to have his back.
“He was recruiting me hard and we had a really good personal relationship. I really like the guy. He’s a great player’s coach, a guy that all the guys like to be around, and I think he’s till has a great future in coaching. He’ll be right back on track.”