AUSTIN (KXAN) — Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has been hired as Texas’ next head football coach, Texas Athletics announced on Saturday afternoon.
Tom Herman was fired on Saturday morning after four seasons with the Longhorns. The Texas Longhorns’ official Twitter account posted a photo with Sarkisian, Athletics Director Chris Del Conte and university president Jay Hartzell.
Sarkisian has served as Alabama’s offensive coordinator for the past two seasons, winning the 2020 Broyles Award given to the top college football assistant coach.
The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated Notre Dame 31-14 in the College Football Playoff semifinals on Friday. Alabama is rated as the No. 1 offense in the country, according to ESPN’s SP+ metrics. Alabama finished the 2019 season as the No. 2 offense in the country.
Sarkisian released a statement through Texas Athletics on becoming the next Longhorns head coach.
“On Jan. 4, 2006, I was the USC quarterback coach when we played Texas in that famed national championship game. There has always been something special about Longhorn football, its history and traditions – not just on that day – and I could never have imagined that 15 years later, I would join the Longhorns as their head coach,” Sarkisian commented. “This is a unique and compelling opportunity to lead this storied program to the next level, competing once again amongst the best in college football.”
Longhorns Athletics Director Chris Del Conte welcomed Sarkisian to Texas in a statement.
“Steve Sarkisian is one of the top offensive minds in the game of football, which he has proved over and over during his time with USC, Atlanta, and most recently, Alabama,” said Chris Del Conte, vice president and athletics director of The University of Texas at Austin. “We are confident our players and coaches will thrive under his leadership and in response to his energy and passion for the game.”
In a letter to the UT Austin community, President Hartzell said Sarkisian is the “right coach” for Texas.
“We all firmly believe that Steve Sarkisian is the right coach to help our football program to achieve its goals and regain its leadership position in the conference and nationally.”
“I think Steve Sarkisian is a critical investment in our football program’s future,” Hartzell said.
Texas’ courting of Sarkisian started several weeks ago. Hartzell said UT leadership decided to push forward for a deal after Alabama’s win in the College Football Playoff semifinal on Friday.
“We found the right man to lead our program,” Del Conte said.
Sarkisian will stay with Alabama through the national championship game on Jan. 11 and will be officially introduced in Austin on Jan. 13.
“I think it’s the right thing to do. I made a commitment to coach Saban and these players to see that through in the championship game,” Sarkisian said.
Sarkisian is heralded as one of the top offensive minds in football, nurturing successful offenses at Alabama and with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. He also has college head coaching experience.
Sarkisian led the Washington Huskies from 2009 to 2013. From there, he was hired as USC’s head coach in 2014.
Sarkisian’s tenure at USC was short-lived, ending during the 2015 season. USC athletic director Pat Haden told him to take a leave of absence in October 2015 and he was subsequently fired. Sarkisian’s head coaching record isn’t much to write home about at 47-35 in six and a half seasons.
The 46-year-old from California reappeared in 2016, working as an University of Alabama offensive assistant. He was hired as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator in 2017.
Sarkisian returned to Alabama in 2019 as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator.