Texas gives Tom Herman his walking papers, hires Steve Sarkisian

STEVE SARKISIAN

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas was tired of waiting for Tom Herman to deliver a Big 12 title and turn the Longhorns back into national championship contenders.

Next up: Steve Sarkisian, the architect of the Alabama Crimson Tide’s offense and its tsunami of points this season.

Texas fired Herman on Saturday after four winning seasons, then hours later announced it was giving the job to the Alabama offensive coordinator.

It’s a quick move Texas expects will deliver quick results. The Longhorns are not known to be a patient bunch.

“I think there’s championship talent on this team. Clearly, there’s work to be done or a change wouldn’t be made,” Sarkisian said.

Sarkisian leads a Crimson Tide offense that has pummeled opponents and produced two Heisman Trophy finalists in quarterback Mac Jones and receiver DeVonta Smith heading 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.

He’s also been around. At 46, Sarkisian has previous head coaching stints at Washington and Southern California. He’s been Alabama’s offensive coordinator under Nick Saban since 2019, and has experience as an NFL assistant.

Sarkisian will remain with Alabama for the championship game.

“Coach Saban wants to win a national championship, so he didn’t push me out the door,” Sarkisian said.

Texas wants Sarkisian to not just win — Herman did that with a 32-18 record and four bowl victories — but to knock rival Oklahoma off the top of the Big 12 while also making sure recruiting in their home state doesn’t get swamped by Texas A&M’s rise in the Southeastern Conference.

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. Of note, Sarkisian was a USC assistant when Texas beat the Trojans for the national championship in the epic 2006 Rose Bowl.

“It’s amazing to think here we are 15 years removed from me standing on the opposite sideline of Vince Young running into the end zone at the Rose Bowl, (to) me being the head coach at Texas,” Sarkisian said.

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.

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