Texas hires Sarkisian to replace Herman

Texas changed course and fired football coach Tom Herman on Saturday, replacing him hours later with Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.

“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.”

Herman, 45, led Texas to a 7-3 record in 2020 and a 32-18 record since replacing Charlie Strong on Nov. 27, 2016. He led the Longhorns to four straight bowl wins, including a 55-23 victory against Colorado in Tuesday’s Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.

“With our football season coming to a close, our vice president and athletics director, Chris Del Conte, has evaluated the UT program’s strengths and weaknesses and where the program is relative to our goals. While we have made measured progress during the past several years under Tom Herman’s leadership, Chris has recommended to the university president, Jay Hartzell, that UT make a coaching change to get us on track to achieving our ambitious goals,” read a university news release.

“President Hartzell and the chair of our Board of Regents, Kevin Eltife, concur with this recommendation and have approved the change. We thank Coach Herman for his service and dedication to our student-athletes, our program and our university.”

Texas backs, then fires Tom Herman

Herman’s firing had been the subject of speculation throughout a season that failed to live up to lofty expectations in Austin.

Tom Herman
Tom Herman. (Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports)

But on Dec. 12, Del Conte issued a statement affirming that Herman would remain the coach.

“There’s been a lot of speculation about the future of our football coach,” Del Conte said at that time. “My policy is to wait until the end of the season before evaluating and commenting on our program and coaches. With the close of the regular season, I want to reiterate that Tom Herman is our coach.”

Herman’s best season at Texas came in 2018 with a 10-4 record and a win in the Sugar Bowl, but he was hired to compete for national championships and the Longhorns are still far below that bar. The school’s most recent national championship came in 2005 under coach Mack Brown.

Texas reportedly owes Herman $15 million to buy out the remaining three years on his guaranteed contract, plus another $9 million for his staff.

Steve Sarkisian
Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.

Sarkisian, 46, has been on Nick Saban’s staff with the top-ranked Crimson Tide since 2019. He was previously the head coach at Washington from 2009-13 (34-29 record) and at Southern California from 2014-15 (12-6 record). He was the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons from 2017-18.

Earlier this week, he won the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top assistant coach.

“We are excited to have Steve Sarkisian join us and lead the next chapter of our football program,” said Kevin Eltife, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents. “University of Texas football has a long and proud history of competing at the highest levels within our conference and nationally, and he brings with him the coaching caliber and championship experience needed to restore this kind of excellence to our program.”

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)