Following a 55-23 victory over the Colorado Buffaloes in the Alamo Bowl, the Texas Longhorns football team is moving in a new direction. The team fired head coach Tom Herman on Saturday, officially beginning a new era for the program. His tenure with the team comes to a close after four seasons, a 32-18 record and appearances in four bowl games.
"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," Texas said in a statement. "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."
The news of Herman's firing follows a Dec. 12 statement by Del Conte. The athletic director released a statement saying that Herman was the football program's coach. He said that the policy was to wait until the end of the season before commenting on the program and its coaches.
Herman's contract carries a $15 million buyout for the remaining three years. Additionally, Texas will have to pay another $9.6 million to buy out the now-fired head coach's staff. Herman hired seven new assistant coaches before the 2020 season. These coaches learned of his departure in separate Zoom calls with Del Conte on Saturday.
With Herman out, there are now questions about who will take over the football program for 2021 and beyond. Rumors circulated in early December that former Florida Gators and Ohio State Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer was the man for the job. However, he said that he would not return to coaching due to health reasons.
According to 247Sports, sources reveal that Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is the man for the job. He currently leads the nation's No. 2 scoring offense and has considerable experience in both the NFL and college ranks. Sarkisian previously served as offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons and as the head coach of Washington and USC. He went 34-29 (.540) in five seasons with the Huskies and 12-6 with the Trojans before being fired for disorderly conduct on Oct. 12, 2015.
Sarkisian will reportedly become the new head coach of Texas ahead of the 2021 season, but he has another priority to start the new year. Alabama will play Ohio State in the national championship game on Jan. 11. This game will serve as a final opportunity for Sarkisian to highlight his offense.