A recent string of incidents punctuated by a leave of absence to seek treatment have made it pretty clear that USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian has a problem with alcohol. According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, those problems extend all the way back to his tenure at Washington, where he was the head coach from 2009-2013.
Through documents and interviews with former Washington players, the Times paints a picture of a man who has a serious alcohol problem. One representative anecdote:
During a stop at a rib joint in Nashville in January 2013, for example, Sarkisian and three assistants ordered four shots of Patron Silver, four shots of an unspecified liquor and five beers. The coach cashed out at 11:53 a.m.
Former players relayed stories about Sarkisian appearing to be drunk during practices and meetings, and told the Times that he often kept alcohol in his office. Then there’s a string of receipts showing that Sarkisian never shied away from expensing alcohol purchases at official functions. A small sampling:
During a one-night stay at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live in May 2011 for a speaking engagement, Sarkisian’s hotel folio shows room service delivered a $90 bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne and a chocolate amenity, then six beers.
At the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix for a Pac-12 Conference head coach meetings, Sarkisian ran up $106 in minibar charges in one day in May 2012 and spent more than $1,600 over two days at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort and Spa’s pool bar in 2013.
Sarkisian’s leave of absence was reportedly spurred by him showing up drunk to a team meeting on Sunday morning. Sarkisian is also going through a divorce, and a source tells ESPN that he “hasn’t been in a good place all season.”