There have been an array of assistants who have left Alabama for head coaching positions across college football with some to mixed results and some to prickly relationships with Nick Saban.
But Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian looks to be one of the Saban assistants who become a staple of the game, and while doing so holds a great deal of appreciation for Saban and his time with the Crimson Tide.
During Big 12 media days, Sarkisian was asked about the importance of his time in Tuscaloosa and what Nick Saban and the program meant to his coaching career.
“Unbelievable amount of respect for Coach Saban and that program,” Sarkisian said. “Without Nick Saban, I wouldn’t be sitting here today in front of y’all. I owe a great deal to him, I owe so much to him and I will never ever forget that he and Miss Terry have been tremendous in my life and my wife’s life and what they’ve done for us on and off the field, I owe them a great deal.”
After being fired from USC in 2015 and a battle with alcoholism, Saban hired Sarkisian as an offensive analyst in 2016 and following a brief stint in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons, returned to Alabama as the team’s offensive coordinator. During the 2020 season, Sarkisian became one of the most coveted coaches in college football where he helped Alabama win the national championship game while holding the keys to one of the most prolific offenses in the history of college football.
Following the championship, Sarkisian was named the head coach of Texas and after one season has built a roster loaded with young talent.
This season Sarkisian and the Longhorns will have a massive test in its second game of the season when it welcomes Alabama to Austin. Although Sarkisian has acknowledged his team’s lack of experience in the past accompanied by the knowledge he has of Saban, he can’t wait to have his team suit up against his former head coach.
“With that being said I can’t wait to play them because I know what he puts into it. I know the work ethic, I know the discipline that he has personally. I know that he instills that into his organization and to that team and I think ultimately that’s what you try to take when you leave Alabama. You can’t try to be Nick Saban there’s only one, you have to be Steve Sarkisian. But the discipline and commitment that he has personally to that program that then he instills into his team and to his own organization is something you try to emulate. I cherished my time there with him I loved my time there with him, and looking forward to play him Week 2.”
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