Steve Sarkisian: This wasn't the only job opportunity I had

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday June 09, 2017


The Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator job wasn’t the only opportunity to Steve Sarkisian, but he says it was the right one.

Sarkisian’s jump from Alabama to the Falcons after only a few weeks as Alabama’s offesive coordinator was a surprise, but it moved quickly.

“I’ve really respected Dan (Quinn) for many years. I respected what he’d done here the first couple of years as a head coach,” Sarkisian said this week. “Philosophically, offensively what they had done, what he wanted to continue to do, fit what I believe in. A lot of things just aligned to where this felt like the right move.

“All of us, every coach in our profession, you have to make tough decisions whether to stay or take the job or the next job that’s in front of you. As many jobs as we take, there are probably five to 10 that we didn’t take. This wasn’t the only one that was proposed to me. This felt like the right one at the right time to join this organization.”

Lane Kiffin said a few months ago that he suspected the idea of traveling home more and not dealing with recruiting was a factor for the coach. Sark didn’t mention that, but the demands of coaching in the NFL are lesser.

The call from Quinn came right after the Super Bowl. Sarkisian was at home in California, and the idea of being an NFL offensive coordinator was incredibly appealing — especially for the defending NFC champ.

I was at home, got the call and then kind of really took a step back and tried to look at this thing with a full view,” he said. “Not just look at it ‘Oh, I get to be a coordinator in the National Football League.’ But a full view of the organization: the management, the head coach, the offensive coaches, the offensive personnel, the city of Atlanta, all of those things that could play a part in making this decision. I made the decision and haven’t looked back.”

There was also the issue of Sarkisian’s problems with alcohol, which led to his dismissal as USC head coach. It was something Nick Saban took into account, and it was something the Falcons had to look into.

Sarkisian said it was so public that he knew to deal with it head on, and the Falcons have welcomed him this offseason.

“That’s something that I really tried to focus on in my time away from the game, to making sure that I was really being authentic in my approach to a lot of things, whether it be my job, my personal life or whatever that is,” he said. “This is just another way for me to be authentic in my life, is to say, ‘This is who I am.’

“The reality of it is things happen to all of us in one way or another, either directly or indirectly. How we respond to those things ultimately defines us and the character that we have, what we are about and who we are. That’s just been my approach from day one. It was my approach with Dan and (general manager) Thomas (Dimitroff). It’s been my approach with the players.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 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 chris@coachingsearch.com.