TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama football coach Nick Saban didn’t wait too long to name his new offensive coordinator. Saban tabbed former Southern Cal and Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian to replace Lane Kiffin as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Kiffin accepted a head coaching position at Florida Atlantic earlier this week. He will coach Alabama’s offense through the College Football Playoff. No. 1 Alabama faces No. 4 Washington in the Peach Bowl semifinal on Dec. 31.
“We are pleased to be able to hire an offensive coordinator with the pedigree and experience of Steve Sarkisian,” Saban said in a statement. “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 and brings a great deal of energy and enthusiasm to his job. Steve will be a phenomenal addition to our coaching staff and someone who can seamlessly transition into the job with a full understanding of how our organization works.”
Saban hired Sarkisian as an offensive analyst back in September. Sarkisian was spotted in the press box throughout the season. Back in September, Saban said the biggest thing Sarkisian brought to Alabama’s staff were his organizational skills.
Saban said having Sarkisian assist in organizing meetings and other administrative aspects of the job allowed the offensive staff to better coach their players and focus more on the gameplan.
“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 statement. “I have always admired the Alabama program from afar and getting to be part of this football team these past few months has only reinforced my belief that this is the best college football organization in the country.
“There are many outstanding coaches and athletes at The University of Alabama, and I am extremely excited to start working with them in my new role. This is a very special place to have the opportunity to coach when you consider the program’s rich tradition and the unrivaled passion of the fan base.”
Sarkisian was fired by Southern Cal in October 2015, one day after he was asked to take an “indefinite leave of absence.” The firing came after Sarkisian reportedly showed up to USC’s athletic facilities intoxicated. He reportedly checked into a rehabilitation facility that same week.
Sarkisian later sued the school for his dismissal, arguing that it didn’t accommodate his disability.
Sarkisian replaced current Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin as Trojans coach after Kiffin was fired in 2013. Sarkisian went 12-6 with the Trojans from 2014 to 2015.
Prior to that, Sarkisian was the coach at Washington, going 34-29 in five seasons (2009-13).
“We’re going to continue to help him in his program as an organization and we’ll support him if he has an opportunity,” Saban said in September. “But 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 part of the organization. Hopefully he’ll be able to get back on his feet professionally and this will be beneficial to him.”