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Tom Herman Fired as Texas HC, Alabama's Steve Sarkisian Hired as Replacement

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2021

Texas head coach Tom Herman watches his team warm up before an NCAA college football game against West Virginia in Austin, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press

The Texas Longhorns fired head coach Tom Herman on Saturday after finishing the 2020 season with a 7-3 record.

Bryan Fischer @BryanDFischer

Texas has fired Tom Herman. Wow. https://t.co/2CqtN14Ioz

Pete Thamel @PeteThamel

Texas has fired Tom Herman. Will owe him $15 million and the staff nearly $24 million.

Steve Sarkisian, the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Alabama Crimson Tide, was subsequently hired as Herman's replacement. Texas made the move official Saturday afternoon, hours after Herman was shown the door: 

Texas Football @TexasFootball

Welcome to Texas, @CoachSark! 🤘 https://t.co/6jHwJPoLtA

Sarkisian is in his second stint as an assistant with the Crimson Tide. He first joined Nick Saban's staff in 2016 as an analyst and was promoted to interim offensive coordinator.

Following a two-year stint in the NFL as offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, Sarkisian returned to Tuscaloosa in 2019. The 46-year-old helped the program win the SEC championship and reach the College Football Playoff National Championship this season.

The Alabama offense has finished second in the nation in points per game in each of the past two seasons. The unit also has two Heisman Trophy finalists this year in quarterback Mac Jones and wide receiver DeVonta Smith.

Herman, 45, inherited a program with three straight losing seasons under Charlie Strong but found success, earning bowl wins in each of his fours years.

Texas went 25-15 in his first three seasons, including a 10-win campaign in 2018 and a Sugar Bowl victory.

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After a loss to Iowa State dropped the Longhorns to 5-3 this season, Herman said he was proud of the team's direction.

"I feel like where we have the program right now compared to where it was when we took over, the future is very bright," he said Nov. 27. "We've won a lot of big games in our time here. ... I feel great about the trajectory of our program and where we're headed and the things that are on the horizon."

But the Longhorns often failed to live up to expectations and haven't won a Big 12 title since 2009.

The squad entered 2020 ranked No. 14 in the preseason Associated Press poll, the fourth straight year it began the year in the Top 25. It underachieved, though, losing to TCU and Iowa State as well as in the Red River Rivalry against Oklahoma.

Herman went 1-4 against the Sooners during his tenure.

The inability to take Texas to the next level put the coach on the hot seat, with athletic director Chris Del Conte "feeling the pressure" to make a decision, Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported Nov. 27.

Herman remains a proven coach, having led Houston to a 22-4 record in two years with a win in the Peach Bowl in 2015. He was previously highly regarded as an offensive coordinator, especially with Ohio State from 2012 to 2014, as he won the 2014 Broyles Award as the top assistant coach in the country.

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