Texas Coach Steve Sarkisian: ‘Nick Saban Saved My Career’ With $30K Offer When No One Else Was Calling

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Steve Sarkisian is entering his third season as the head coach at Texas, with expectations rising and young quarterback named Arch Manning on campus. But if it weren’t for Nick Saban, there’s a good chance none of this would be possible.

Over the past year, Steve Sarkisian has let the public know how much an influence Nick Saban has had on his career. But when he dives deeper into the discussion about his time at Alabama, it all starts to make more sense on how bad things were from him in 2015, after being fired from USC.

His life was spiraling and he needed to figure out how to put things back together, on a personal level. Coaching football was a privilege that Sarkisian thought he lost after being fired by USC. The stories that came out of Los Angeles at the time were pretty grim, with a coach needing help to get his personal life back in order.

Former USC And Current Texas Coach Steve Sarkisian
Then USC football coach Steve Sarkisian in August 2015. (Photo by Al Seib / Los Angels Times via Getty Images)

In Sarkisian’s eyes, getting his life together was the first priority, then getting back into coaching could possibly come next. But he was about to experience what it felt like to be shunned from the college football coaching community. Sarkisian wasn’t receiving any calls to return to coaching. he couldn’t even get an interview.

Nick Saban Provides Sarkisian An Olive Branch

It was at this time that the former Washington and USC head coach was content with going the television route. It wasn’t coaching, but it could get him back in the game in some capacity. That was until Nick Saban extended the olive branch that Sarkisian desperately needed.

“In 2015, as I came out of that and had gotten fired at USC, [I had] gone to recovery, starting working on me, personally,” Steve Sarkisian told ‘The Pivot’. “And then coming out of that, not being able to get a job. Somewhere in there, someone has got to extend an olive branch to you. In 2016, I was ready to go do TV. I couldn’t get an interview for a job. And Nick Saban saved my career and he offered me an analyst job.”

We’ve seen Nick Saban do this before, offering jobs to former head coaches that could help them get back on the field. Most will think of Lane Kiffin and how he turned his career around in Tuscaloosa, leading to the FAU and Ole Miss jobs. But this wasn’t the glamorous life at Alabama, with coaches only making a very small amount of money in the analyst role.

The Analyst Role Was The Best Thing For Steve Sarkisian

“I would’ve done it for free. But he (Saban) said I gotta pay you $30,000 so you can get benefits. I said ok, I’ll do that. I am forever indebted to him because at time, somebody in life has got to give all of us a second chance. It totally changed my perspective, on how I coach, deal with our players, because everybody’s going through stuff,” Sarkisian added.

We all know the story from there. Sarkisian would be named offensive coordinator for the national title game against Clemson. Then, he would end up taking the same position with the Atlanta Falcons, only to return to Tuscaloosa and winning a national title.

It was certainly not the road Sarkisian thought he’d find himself on when he was coaching at USC. The whole ordeal led to his redemption story currently unfolding at Texas.

“If I can be that guy to extend that olive branch to our players as we go through this journey, I always lean back to that time,” Sarkisian said. “Here’s the greatest coach of all-time in our era and for whatever reason he saw something in me, to give me a chance.”

Written by Trey Wallace

Trey Wallace is the host of The Trey Wallace Podcast that focuses on a mixture of sports, culture, entertainment along with his perspective on everything from College Football to the College World Series.

Wallace has been covering college sports for 15 years, starting off while attending the University of South Alabama. He’s broken some of the biggest college stories including the Florida football “Credit Card Scandal” along with the firing of Jim McElwin and Kevin Sumlin. Wallace also broke one of the biggest stories in college football in 2020 around the NCAA investigation into recruiting violations against Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

Wallace also appears on radio across seven different states breaking down that latest news in college sports.

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