Steve Sarkisian addresses decision to stay at Texas despite reported Alabama interest

IMG_0985by:Griffin McVeigh02/29/24


Sarkisian And His QB Preference | Inside Texas Football

When Nick Saban announced his retirement, multiple former assistants were linked with the job. None larger than Steve Sarkisian, fresh off a College Football Playoff appearance with Texas. Alabama was always going to shoot high to replace Saban and Sarkisian may have been the biggest name rumored.

However, Sarkisian says there was never going to be a world where he left Texas for Alabama. He has done a great job of building the Longhorns back up and will enter the SEC as a national championship contender. Sarkisian believes something special is coming at Texas and wants to “build my own legacy” instead of following Saban.

“The speculation and outside world, I think it was just that,” Sarkisian said. “We were in the process of developing and getting my new contract done. I think we’re just on the cusp of doing some really special things here at the University of Texas. Fortunate but no, that was not really a reality.”

If you were to ask the average Alabama fan who the dream replacement for Saban was, Sarkisian likely would have been a popular answer. He had a ton of success in Tuscaloosa as the offensive coordinator for two years. Sarkisian was even the active head coach during the 2020 Iron Bowl when Saban was out with COVID-19, earning a win en route to a national championship.

Had the opportunity never arisen at Texas, maybe Sarkisian still would have been at Alabama. AD Greg Byrne then would have had an easy internal promotion. But as Sarkisian said during his introductory press conference back in January 2021, Texas was a “yes” after being offered other head coaching jobs.

Sarkisian could not turn down Texas at the time and has been rewarded ever since. On-field success has come with a Big 12 title and a CFP appearance in Year 3. A contract extension was also recently given to Sarkisian and will make him over $10 million per year, one of the highest salaries in college football.

The focus has now become winning a national championship, something Sarkisian has admitted that he is “obsessed” with.

Steve Sarkisian sees appeal of living in Austin

Living in Austin compared to Tuscaloosa seems to be a huge selling point for Texas, though. Not that Sarkisian had anything bad to say about Tuscaloosa but growing up in Los Angeles, Austin gave him a little taste of home. It’s a big city compared to a college town and even so, there is only one real focus in the sports world.

“For me, growing up in LA, I like a little city in my life,” Sarkisian said. “I like a little bit of concrete. I don’t mind that I-35 runs just East of campus right here. I love that there are plenty of places downtown to go eat. I love that we have a city of over 1 million here in Austin.

“But I also do love this — I love that in Austin, there is no pro sports. Texas, University of Texas, Texas Football, we’re really the pro football team in this town. So, we have the best of both worlds. That’s nothing to take away of being in Tuscaloosa, which is a true college town… Different than even being in LA where so many other things going on… There is a really unique niche here in Austin that we’re really trying to capitalize on.”