As the USC dust begins to settle on Steve Sarkisian, it’s only fair to ask the question: Did Pat Haden make a mistake allowing Sarkisian to coach this season when trouble was on the horizon following the booster incident?
“Yes, absolutely,” USA Today college football reporter Dan Wolken said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I think it’s very hard to understand what a breach of protocol that is for a head coach because it just shows such a lack of self-control, a lack of respect for the moment. Most coaches just don’t get involved in anything like that. They don’t drink in public. They don’t go to bars. They certainly wouldn’t drink enough that it would put them in a bad position, especially in this world with all the Instagram and Twitter and whatever else. The jobs pay too much. They’re too hard to get. People just don’t jeopardize themselves in that way unless they have a serious problem. I don’t know why that wasn’t recognized by the folks at USC. Maybe it was and they were just trying to get through the season. But look, the idea that (he was) going to go get some treatment and find out whether (he has) an alcohol problem, well, you can’t do that during a football season. That just doesn’t work. These jobs are too all-consuming. There’s too much stress, too much pressure. Obviously in retrospect it should have all been handled very differently.”
Clay Helton has been named USC’s interim coach and will lead the Trojans (3-2, 1-2) against No. 14 Notre Dame (5-1) this Saturday. Sarkisian’s replacement is yet to be determined, but it likely won’t be Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy. That’s because Gundy flat out said he has no interest in going to USC and considers Oklahoma State “a better job.”
Should we believe this 48-year-old man?
“Well, the thing with Gundy – and I don’t know if he’s a serous candidate or somebody USC would be interested in at this point or not – but I think there were some issues a couple years ago,” Wolken said. “He didn’t have a great relationship with T. Boone Pickens, he didn’t have a great relationship with his AD at Oklahoma State, and he was looking around. He talked to Arkansas, he talked to Tennessee – almost took that job. So there was a point in time where Gundy was gettable, but the last year – beating Oklahoma, getting off to a good start this year – I do think that there’s probably an element of Mike Gundy that kind of likes his life right now. You can win eight, nine games, be a hero at your alma mater, your top booster’s in your corner – for him, that may be a better job. I don’t think in a vacuum it is. I don’t think anybody would think it is. But for him and his lifestyle down there, he may think it’s better. And so I will take him at his word that he’s not interested.”