Texas acted quickly Saturday, hiring Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian as its football coach hours after firing Tom Herman.
"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 in a statement. "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, 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.
"Steve Sarkisian is one of the top offensive minds in the game of football, which he has proved over and over during his time with USC, Atlanta, and most recently, Alabama," said Chris Del Conte, Texas athletic director.
"We are confident our players and coaches will thrive under his leadership and in response to his energy and passion for the game."
Herman, 45, guided 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.
Herman's firing had been the subject of speculation throughout a season that failed to live up to lofty expectations in Austin. 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."
But on Saturday, the university issued a statement that said Del Conte's evaluation showed a change was in order.
"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," the statement said.
"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 reportedly owes Herman $15 million to buy out the remaining three years on his guaranteed contract, plus another $9 million for his staff.
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.
Sarkisian was on the sidelines for USC in that title game, the 2006 Rose Bowl, when Texas and Vince Young outdueled USC and Matt Leinart, 41-38, in a classic.
Texas didn't announce a start date for Sarkisian, who has some unfinished business. Alabama will play Ohio State on Jan. 11 in the College Football Playoff championship game, and it was unclear Saturday whether Sarkisian would be calling the plays for the Crimson Tide.