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Alabama offensive coordinator, former BYU QB Steve Sarkisian hired as Texas head coach

Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian works his players through drills during an NCAA college fall camp fan-day college football scrimmage, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Vasha Hunt, Associated Press

Almost immediately after Texas announced Saturday morning it had fired football coach Tom Herman, a familiar name cropped up as his replacement.

According to multiple national reports, Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian was expected to replace Herman as the Longhorns’ coach. Horns247’s Chip Brown was the first to report it.

By the afternoon, the news was made official by the university.

“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,” Texas president Jay Hartzell said in a statement. “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.”

Sarkisian, who played quarterback for two seasons at BYU in the mid-1990s, has been the OC and quarterbacks coach for the Crimson Tide for the past two seasons, his second stint coaching on head coach Nick Saban’s staff. Sarkisian was recently named the Broyles Award winner, given to the nation’s top assistant football coach, as he has led an offense that is averaging 48.7 points and 535 yards per game.

Alabama beat Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff semifinals and will face Ohio State in the national championship on Jan. 11.

Sarkisian previously was the head coach at Washington and USC and had a 46-35 overall record as head coach at the two schools. He also was the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

“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 said in a statement. “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.”

Fox Sports’ Joel Klatt lauded the potential Sarkisian hire before it became official, adding Sarkisian has had other opportunities to leave Alabama recently. ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reported that two head-coach openings Sarkisian was considered for included Auburn last month and Colorado last year.

“Sark had a couple of opportunities to become HC over the last 12 months, but Alabama indicated they would go with him post Saban...Texas, however, is to good to pass up...He did a wonderful job at Washington and has grown significantly as a person...If it’s him it’s a good hire,” Klatt wrote on Twitter.

Herman was the Longhorns’ coach for four years and had a 32-18 record. Texas beat Colorado 55-23 in the Alamo Bowl on Tuesday. Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reported Texas will owe Herman and his staff nearly $24 million, with $15 million of that for Herman to buy out the final three years of his contract.