Texas didn’t wait long to hire Tom Herman’s replacement, as the Longhorns announced Saturday that they’ve agreed to a deal with Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.
The Longhorns’ announcement came about five hours after the school unexpectedly said it had fired Herman, who went 32-18 in four seasons at Texas and 7-3 this season, which culminated with a win over Colorado in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Tuesday.
Sarkisian, who won the Broyles Award as the top assistant in the FBS, said he “made a commitment” to Alabama coach Nick Saban and would remain with the No. 1 Crimson Tide through the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T against No. 3 Ohio State on Jan. 11 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App).
Sarkisian said he’ll juggle his duties preparing for the championship game, and trying to assemble a coaching staff at Texas and meeting with players individually. He said he has already had a team meeting and met with the current Longhorns staff.
“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 about joining the Longhorns.
Sarkisian said he believes Texas has “championship talent” but acknowledged, “Clearly, there’s work to be done or a change wouldn’t be made.”
“We all want Texas to be back. We all believe Texas should be back,” Sarkisian said. “That’s why I took, that’s why I’m taking this job. But the reality of it is we have to put in the work. And then when you put in the work, then you get the outcomes that you desire.”
Sarkisian, who is making $2.5 million per season on Saban’s staff with the Crimson Tide, declined an interview with Auburn in its head-coaching search last month and turned down the Colorado head-coaching job last year.
He is the first assistant coach hired by Texas to lead its program since 1951, when the Longhorns promoted Ed Price to the role.
Texas didn’t immediately release details of Sarkisian’s deal. The Longhorns will owe Herman about $15 million to buy out the final three years of his contract. The Longhorns will owe about another $10 million to buy out the remaining contracts for his assistants, which are guaranteed multiyear deals.
“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,” university president Jay 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.”
Sarkisian, 46, was USC’s quarterbacks coach on Jan. 4, 2006, when Vince Young led the Longhorns to a 41-38 upset of No. 1 USC in the BCS National Championship at the Rose Bowl, ending the Trojans’ 34-game winning streak. It was Texas’ first national title since 1970.
“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.
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