USC coach Steve Sarkisian has apologized for his behavior and language during Saturday night’s “Salute to Troy,” an event on campus where coaches and players are introduced to boosters and fans. Some observers said he appeared to be intoxicated.
LOS ANGELES – What was supposed to be an event to fire up the faithful for the upcoming season has turned into an embarrassment for USC and second-year coach Steve Sarkisian.
Sarkisian, previously coach of the Washington Huskies, on Sunday apologized for his behavior and language during Saturday night’s “Salute to Troy,” an annual event on campus where coaches and players are introduced to boosters and fans.
The coach’s presentation typically includes his introducing every assistant, but Sarkisian didn’t make it that far, according to multiple people who attended the event.
Sarkisian, 41, slurred words, disparaged several opposing teams and uttered an expletive before the rallying phrase “Fight On,” several boosters said.
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Sarkisian appeared intoxicated, some said. The event was closed to the media.
Sarkisian’s apology was issued on USC’s athletic-department website, which also carried a statement by athletic director Pat Haden.
“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,” Sarkisian said. “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.”
Said Haden: “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.”
Sarkisian guided the team to a 9-4 record last season, USC’s first since coming off NCAA sanctions.
• Ohio State is the first unanimous preseason No. 1 in The Associated Press poll.
The defending national champion Buckeyes received all 61 first-place votes from the media panel in the rankings released Sunday. Preseason rankings date to 1950 and no previous team had received more than 97 percent of the first-place votes in a preseason poll.
Texas Christian is No. 2, followed by Alabama, Baylor and Michigan State.
Half of the Pac-12 teams made the AP Top 25: No. 7 Oregon, No. 8 USC, No. 13 UCLA, No. 15 Arizona State, No. 21 Stanford and No. 22 Arizona.
The Southeastern Conference had eight Top 25 teams.
• Sophomore Ryan Finley has been named the starting quarterback for No. 23 Boise State for its season opener, a home game against Washington on Sept. 4.