By Jim Vertuno, The Associated Press on January 2, 2021.
AUSTIN, Texas – Texas fired Tom Herman because it was tired of waiting for him to deliver a Big 12 title and turn the Longhorns back into a national championship contender.
Next up: Steve Sarkisian, the architect of the Alabama Crimson Tide’s offence and their tsunami of points this season.
Texas abruptly fired Herman on Saturday after four seasons, then followed it hours later with the announcement it has hired the Alabama offensive co-ordinator to build the Longhorns back into shape.
Sarkisian has directed an overwhelming Crimson Tide offence this season that has produced two Heisman Trophy finalists in quarterback Mac Jones and receiver DeVonta Smith, and has Alabama rolling into the Jan. 11 College Football Playoff championship game against Ohio State. He recently won the Broyles Award given to college football’s top assistant coach.
Sarkisian, 46, also has previous head coaching experience at Washington and Southern California. He has been Alabama’s offensive co-ordinator under head coach Nick Saban since 2019.
“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,” Sarkisian said in a statement released by Texas.
His new job will require him not just to win – Herman did that with a 32-18 record – but to knock rival Oklahoma off the top of the Big 12, get the Longhorns back among the national elite and make sure they also don’t get swamped by Texas A&M’s rise in the recruiting battles for homegrown state talent.
He will be Texas’ fourth head coach since the program’s last Big 12 championship in 2009. Since then, Texas has fired Mack Brown – the only coach to lead the program to a national championship (2005) in 50 years – Charlie Strong and Herman.
Sarkisian was 46-35 overall at Washington and USC but was fired midway through his second season with the Trojans 2015 and went into alcohol rehabilitation treatment. He later lost a $30 million breach of contract and disability discrimination lawsuit against USC that alleged the school fired him instead of allowing him to seek treatment.
Herman was 32-18 in his four seasons with four bowl victories and still had three years left on a guaranteed contract set to pay him more than $6 million per year.