AUSTIN, Texas — Hours after news broke that Tom Herman was fired, the University of Texas announced its new head coach, Steve Sarkisian.
Sarkisian is familiar with the Longhorns on the field, something he noted in UT's press release announcing him as the new 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.”
UT President Jay Hartzell gave high praises for Sarkisian in the university's announcement.
"Hiring Steve Sarkisian represents a critical investment in our football program’s future, not just for our student-athletes, but for all of Longhorn Nation," Hartzell said. "Our entire community benefits from a healthy and successful athletics program, and naming Steve as our coach infuses our football program with the necessary guidance and expertise to drive further success."
His head coaching record is 46-35 overall and 2-2 in bowl games.
Here's a look at the new leader of the Texas Longhorns football team:
Steve Sarkisian coaching pedigree
2001-2003: USC quarterbacks coach
2004: Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach
2005-2006: USC quarterbacks coach
2007-2008: USC offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
2009-2013: University of Washington head coach
2014-2015: USC head coach
2016-2017: Alabama offensive analyst/interim offensive coordinator
2017-2018: Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator
2019-2020: Alabama offensive coordinator
Sarkisian turns around Washington Huskies
After spending time as USC's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Sarkisian leapt to the head coaching ranks when he was hired at the University of Washington. Sarkisian took over a winless Huskies team and improved the 0-12 record in 2008 to a 5-7 record in his first season, including a 16-13 win over No. 3 USC. Sarkisian followed that with three straight 7-6 seasons and an 8-4 record in his final year as head coach of the Huskies in 2013. NFL quarterback Jake Locker developed in Sarkisian's system at Washington.
Then, Sarkisian left Washington to be the head coach for USC after the 2013 season.
Sarkisian leave of absence, termination from USC
Sarkisian's stint as USC's head coach was short and controversial. Sarkisian's USC squad were 9-4 in his first season, but he was put on a leave of absence in the middle of his second year after there were reports he arrived to team facilities intoxicated. Sarkisian was fired one day later by USC.
Sarkisian filed a $30 million wrongful termination lawsuit against USC, but eventually lost the suit and did not appeal, stating he would respect the result and move on.
Sarkisian opened up to Longhorn reporters in his first press conference about his past and rebuilding his career and image.
"Any time you go through something like I went through, essentially in the public eye, I don't want to say you're humbled but you are," Sarkisian said. "But in reality, you do the soul searching, you do the work and you try to be the best version of Steve Sarkisian every day."
"When you're sitting in a young man's living room or you've got a young man on your team that is going through something ... you've got real life experience just like I have now to lean on that I think they can relate to ... that they can value that I'm being sincere with them. And at the end of the day, they can recognize the work that you've put in and who you are and how you treat people. So I'm proud of the work that I've done but I will say when you battle what I battle, you have to work on it every day."
Sarkisian leaves Alabama, goes to NFL as Falcons offensive coordinator
Sarkisian joined Alabama in 2016 as an offensive analyst. He was promoted to offensive coordinator after Lane Kiffin left to be the head coach for Florida Atlantic. Shortly after, Sarkisian accepted a job as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, where he replaced Kyle Shanahan. The Falcons' offense under Sarkisian dropped from a league-high 33.8 points per game to 22.1 points per game in 2017. In 2018, however, the offense's scoring improved to 25.9 points per game.
Sarkisian was then fired from the Falcons after the 2018 season.
Sarkisian returns to Alabama as offensive coordinator
Alabama re-hired Sarkisian in 2019 to be the Crimson Tide's offensive coordinator. Alabama went 11-2 in 2019 with Sarkisian as the offensive coordinator and will take on Ohio State in the National Championship game for the 2020 season.
Alabama wide receiver Devonta Smith and quarterback Mac Jones are also Heisman Trophy finalists in Sarkisian's offense in 2020.
Sarkisian takes over as Texas Longhorns head coach
Sarkisian will look to build off of a 7-3 Longhorns 2020 season that ended with a 55-23 Alamo Bowl win against Colorado.
Sarkisian's official press conference will take place on either Jan. 12 or Jan. 13.
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