USC coach Steve Sarkisian says he mixed meds, alcohol

ByMarc Cota-Robles, Curt Sandoval, and staff via KABC logo
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
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USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian said he mixed medicine with alcohol, which led to odd behavior at a recent team event.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian said he mixed medicine with alcohol, which led to odd behavior at a recent team event.

Sarkisian made the admission at a news conference at the USC campus on Tuesday, marking the first time the coach answered questions since using what he's called inappropriate language at Saturday night's Salute to Troy event.

"The way I acted was irresponsible and something that I obviously don't condone," Sarkisian said.

The coach said he has spoken at length with USC athletic director Pat Haden, and the two have outlined things for Sarkisian to work on moving forward. Sarkisian did not indicate receiving a suspension for his behavior.

"I think the moral of the story is this: When you mix meds with alcohol, sometimes you say things or do things that you regret, and I regret it. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for all of our fans and donors and all the people that were in attendance," Sarkisian said.

He did not say what medication he was taking or what he taking it for, citing privacy.

He added that he is thankful for the support he's received at the university and that he looks forward to continuing as head coach.

Sarkisian appeared to be drunk and was slurring his words during his profanity-laced speech. He used colorful language to describe several Pac-12 schools. He made such a scene, that USC athletic director Pat Haden had to step in.

The coach has since apologized, and he apologized again at the news conference.

VIDEO: Complete Steve Sarkisian news conference

Sarkisian said he's met with the players and told them about what happened.

"I've disclosed everything to the team. I've opened myself up to the team," he said.

The coach said he doesn't believe he has a drinking problem but said he will be seeking treatment to "deal with it." But Sarkisian said the treatment won't necessarily be rehab, saying he doesn't think he needs it.

"In the meantime, I'm going to be the head football coach here," he said.

When a reporter asked if he will swear off drinking for the season, Sarkisian answered, "Sure. Without a doubt."

"I want to win a championship, and I believe we have a championship-quality team, and that's what my focus is," he said.

Two players, Cody Kessler and Su'a Cravens also spoke at the end of the news conference.

"Bottom line for us is - that's our head coach. We're going to support him no matter what," Kessler said, adding that the team has moved on and has actually grown closer after the coach made his admission to the group.

Cravens echoed that support, saying he loves the coach and will stand by him.

"We're the same team before and after the fact. Nothing has changed. We're a tight locker room and have a great coaching staff," Cravens said. "Everybody makes mistakes."