TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban doesn’t often make drastic changes to how he coaches his team, but he is always open to ideas.
That’s one of the biggest reasons why Saban employees the largest support staff in the country.
Former Southern Cal coach Steve Sarkisian was the latest high-profile coach to join Saban’s staff.
“What Steve has really added is, he’s very, very well-organized,” Saban said during his weekly radio show on Thursday. “I think he has helped organize some of the meetings and just kind of the way we sort of put things together. That has helped the other coaches do a better job of coaching their players through just organizational and administrative stuff in terms of how we do things. I think that’s what he’s really, really good at. He’s done a really good job of that.”
Sarkisian was hired at Alabama as an analyst earlier this month. Sarkisian has been spotted in the press box for Alabama since joining the staff.
Saban said he’s learned some things from Sarkisian so far.
“Steve has certainly brought some good ideas for us, and helped us a lot,” Saban said.
Sarkisian was fired by Southern Cal last October, 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.
“We’re going to continue to help him in his program as an organization and we’ll support him and he has an opportunity,” Saban said when he announced Sarkisian was joining Alabama’s staff. “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.”
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).