Nick Saban explains why Steve Sarkisian will join the Alabama staff

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday September 05, 2016

Nick Saban confirmed Monday that former USC head coach Steve Sarkisian will join the staff in an analyst role, and said it’s been in the works for a while.

We talked about it a while ago. I told him we’d love to have him as a part of the organization,” Saban said. “He’s gone through some personal things himself to get in a positive position and wants to continue to do those things in the future.”

Sarkisian was dismissed as USC head coach early last season and has dealt with substance abuse issues. He’s been through rehab and was set to be a game analyst for Fox Sports this season. Sarkisian was Washington's head coach from 2009-13 and then led USC for 18 games.

“Professionally, he loves coaching,” Saban said. “We thought it would be a good thing for our organization. I’ve known him for a long time. He’s a very, very good coach. To make a contribution to be an analyst here and having some input would be a real positive for our organization.

“We’re going to continue to help him in his program as an organization and will support him. I think he understands the consequences that he deals with professionally if he has any issues or problems. We’re glad to have him as a part of the organization. Hopefully, he’ll be able to get back on his feet, professionally, and this will be beneficial.”

Alabama’s support staff has become a stopping-off point for many accomplished coaches. Former Maryland interim head coach Mike Locksley is currently an analyst. Current Fresno State offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau was an analyst last year after years of Power 5 coordinating experience. 

Georgia inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann was a support staffer for years, and Maryland defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim spent two years on staff. Current Alabama outside linebackers coach Tosh Lupoi was promoted to his job from an analyst role. Lane Kiffin visited as a consultant before Saban hired him as offensive coordinator.

Sarkisian worked with Lupoi at Washington, and Sark and Kiffin have worked together for a long time.

Alabama’s support staff under Saban is unmatched in college football with its resources, including more than 20 people. Between Kiffin, Locksley, Mario Cristobal, Bobby Williams and now Sark, Saban has five former head coaches on staff.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to