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Alabama Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian No Longer a Candidate at Auburn

Auburn's coaching search reportedly moving forward without Steve Sarkisian and former Nick Saban assistants Kevin Steele and Billy Napier

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — After reports circulated over the weekend regarding Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and a potential interview for the vacant head coaching position at Auburn, all indications on Monday were that the two-year assistant under Nick Saban is no longer a candidate. 

Sarkisian never interviewed for the job and reportedly turned down his interview opportunity with the Tigers.

Auburn Undercover was the first to report that both Sarkisian and interim coach Kevin Steele, another former Saban assistant, were no longer being considered. Louisiana announced that head coach Billy Napier was staying put after being a candidate. 

Sources tell BamaCentral that Sarkisian may be in line for yet another contract at Alabama, although the timing obviously isn't ideal due to the athletic department's financial setbacks of the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Back on Aug. 5, Sarkisian signed a contract through Feb. 28, 2023 that included a raise to $2.5 million annually. The new deal made him tied with Steele as the highest-paid assistant coach in college football according to USA Today's NCAA Football Assistant Coaches Salary Database. Sarkisian's current contract as an assistant coach is also more lucrative than the current contracts of nine Power 5 head coaches.

The reasoning behind Sarkisian's increase in pay in the offseason was due to his interest in the coaching vacancy at Colorado State. While Sarkisian interviewed for the position, he ultimately decided to remain at Alabama with his new contract.

Sarkisian previously worked as a head coach at both Washington and USC before joining Saban as an analyst at Alabama back in 2016. After a one-year stint in the NFL as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, Sarkisian once again returned to Tuscaloosa, this time as offensive coordinator.

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Last season, Sarkisian led the Crimson Tide to the second-highest scoring offense in college football, averaging 47.2 points per game. In the 2020 10-game conference-only season, Sarkisian has once again led Alabama to be the second-highest scoring offense, averaging 49.7 points per game — just 0.1 point behind the nation's highest in Kent State, who has played only four games.

Sarkisian's efforts with the Crimson Tide have also earned a spot as a finalist for this year's Frank Broyles Award, the award issued every season to the top assistant coach in the nation.

Sarkisian also served as interim head coach this season when Saban contracted COVID-19, forcing him to remain quarantined during the Iron Bowl. The 46-year-old offensive coordinator led the Crimson Tide to a 42-13 victory over the Auburn Tigers.

In addition to Sarkisian turning down the position at Auburn, a statement released by Louisiana also announced that Napier will remain as the head coach of the Ragin' Cajuns.

In the statement released by Louisiana, athletic director Bryan Maggard revealed his enthusiasm behind Napier's decision.

"We are very excited about the future of Ragin' Cajuns football under Napier's leadership," Maggard said. "We will continue to invest in the program to ensure we maintain and grow our successes. We believe a successful football program elevates the profile of the entire University, and we know there is much more to accomplish."

This story will be updated as necessary, and as more information becomes available.