Steve Sarkisian named offensive coordinator at Alabama

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday December 16, 2016

Alabama offensive analyst Steve Sarkisian has been promoted to offensive coordinator.

Sarkisian has been at Alabama for one season. He was previously the head coach at USC from 2014-15, before he was dismissed mid-season as a result of substance abuse problems. He went 9-4 in his first season, and started 3-2 the next year. He was also the head coach at Washington from 2009-13, going 34-29 and reaching four straight bowl games.

“We are pleased to be able to hire an offensive coordinator with the pedigree and experience of Steve Sarkisian,” Nick Saban said in a release. “He has a tremendous offensive mind and is someone we believe will do a great job of teaching and developing our football team on the offensive side of the ball. He has been a great asset to our coaching staff this season.”

Sarkisian called plays as a head coach at Washington and USC. He was previously the offensive coordinator at USC from 2007-08.

“I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to join Coach Saban’s staff, and I can’t thank The University of Alabama enough,” Sarkisian said in a release. “I have always admired the Alabama program from afar and getting to be a part of this football team these past few months has only reinforced my believe that this is the best college football organization in the country.”

Sarkisian takes the job previously held by Lane Kiffin, who became FAU head coach. Sarkisian had previously replaced Kiffin as USC head coach. When Sarkisian joined the Alabama staff in September, Saban referenced Sarkisian’s substance issues, saying Alabama would support him, but also that there wouldn’t be a tolerance.

“We’re going to continue to help him in his program as an organization and will support him,” Saban said at the time. “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.”

The offensive coordinator role for Nick Saban has turned into a head coaching jumping-off point. Jim McElwain went from Alabama to the Colorado State head job, and Kiffin became FAU head coach earlier this week, Jimbo Fisher was once Saban’s offensive coordinator at LSU. Now Sarkisian undoubtedly will look to work his way back up to a head coaching job if he has success as OC.

Sarkisian will over an offense that is led by true freshman QB Jalen Hurts, who was the SEC offensive player of the year, and has a usual stable of running backs. Kiffin will continue to lead the offense through the playoff. Sarkisian and Kiffin worked together under Pete Carroll, and the offensive adjustment next season won't be very big.

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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