Head USC football coach Steve Sarkisian appeared to be inebriated as he slurred his words and urged the Trojans to “f-cking fight on, baby” during a season kickoff rally over the weekend.

The drunken performance earned him headlines and a reprimand from athletic director Pat Haden, who was lucky enough to witness the whole thing during the “Salute to Troy” celebration at a sold-out Cromwell Field on campus Saturday.

Sarkisian was flanked by cheerleaders when he told a crowd of USC athletes, students, fans and donors that Arizona State, Notre Dame and Oregon “all suck.”

He also said, “Right on, baby, let's go” as he held on to a podium, apparently for support.

In a statement yesterday, Haden said he chewed out Sarkisian after the incident:

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 apologized Sunday:

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. 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.

The remarks might not have been such a big deal had it not been for video of the event sent to ESPN, which posted the footage on its site. An analyst for the sports network said the coach “had a few too many.”

A team source told ESPN, “Our whole team is embarrassed.”

It's probably not a career-breaker.

But Sarkisian is in his second season at a USC used to being a national championship contender. The team had a sobering record last year of 9-4.

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