Tom Herman has been fired as head coach of the Texas football program and the school announced that Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will become the Longhorns next coach.
Sarkisian, who returned to head coach Nick Saban’s staff in January 2019, led a Crimson Tide offense that averaged a school-record 47.2 points per game (ranked second nationally) while averaging 510.8 yards per game during the 2019 season.
"With our football season coming to a close, our vice president and athletics director, Chris Del Conte, has evaluated the UT program’s strengths and weaknesses and where the program is relative to our goals," the school's statement read. "While we have made measured progress during the past several years under Tom Herman’s leadership, Chris has recommended to the university president, Jay Hartzell, that UT make a coaching change to get us on track to achieving our ambitious goals."
In the 2020 season, Sarkisian spearheaded an offense that ranks sixth nationally in total offense (535 ypg) and an offensive unit that features two Heisman Trophy finalists in quarterback Mac Jones and wide receiver DeVonta Smith.
Under Herman, Texas finished 7–3 overall in 2020 and 5–3 in the Big 12 conference. The Longhorns defeated Colorado 55–23 in the 2020 Valero Alamo Bowl.
On Dec. 12, Del Conte released a statement saying he wanted to reiterate that Herman was the program's coach.
"There has been a lot of speculation about the future of our football coach," Del Conte said in a statement. "My policy is to wait until the end of the season before evaluating and commenting on our program and coaches."
The AD also told the Austin American-Statesman that Herman would be back in. But now, things have changed.
Herman amassed a 32–18 record in his four years with the Longhorns, leading his teams to bowl games in all four seasons. He had four winning seasons, four bowl wins and $15.4 million buyout in a pandemic.
Since Mack Brown's firing, Texas has nine fewer wins (48) in total than Brown's seven worst seasons combined with the Longhorns.
Rumors and reports came out that Texas was interested in former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer. However, on Dec. 6, those reports were put to rest as Meyer came out and said he would not be returning to coaching due to health reasons.
"It’s really hard to bring a guy back when you openly pursued another dude," an industry source told Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger about pursuing Meyer and eventually firing Herman. "You don’t trust each other and you don’t talk. And you just hope for 11 wins."