After a Saturday night win in Bryant-Denny Stadium, Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian gave credit to his former mentor and boss, Nick Saban.
While Saban and Sarkisian’s teams battled it out tonight, amounting to a 34-24 victory for Texas, Saban gave him a shot when no one other programs would.
He hired Sarkisian as an analyst in 2016 after alcoholism led to his firing at USC before ultimately rehiring him as offensive coordinator in the 2019 and 2020 season.
Alabama falls to Texas 34-24 🏈 Coach Sark takes the podium after beating his old boss
“I would not be standing here in front of you guys if it wasn’t for Nick Saban. The University of Alabama and Nick Saban changed my life.” pic.twitter.com/u94yH4OeTY
— Olivia Whitmire (@omwhitmireTV) September 10, 2023
“I would not be standing here in front of you guys if it wasn’t for Nick Saban,” Sarkisian told reporters on Saturday night. “The University of Alabama and Nick Saban changed my life.”
In 2020, coaching at UA, Sarkisian was discovered to have a life-threatening congenital heart disorder during a physical exam Saban encourages his staff to undergo annually.
Sarkisian was quickly sent into emergency surgery — which proved successful, despite the severity of his condition.
How it started vs. how it's going 👀
Sarkisian becomes Saban's first former assistant to defeat Saban in Tuscaloosa. pic.twitter.com/eS4OXGDTU8
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) September 10, 2023
“I think Sark is one of the best coaches we’ve ever been around when it comes to offense,” Saban said ahead of Saturday’s game against Texas.
“Sark did a great job here for us. He’s doing a great job in Texas and it’s gonna be a very challenging game. They recruit well, they coach well. They’ve got good players and they’re well-coached.”
“I like giving people second chances,” Saban said. “I think that their willingness to do the right things and whatever their mistakes were, they’re trying to fix it and look for an opportunity.”
“He represented the program well, he’s first class in every way, so I was glad I gave him a second chance.”
The Longhorns became the first visiting team since LSU in 2019 to claim victory on Alabama’s home turf, at that time leading to the Tigers winning the College Football Playoff.
Reflecting on the reception he got from Alabama fans upon returning to Tuscaloosa on Saturday, Sarkisian jokingly told reporters he was surprised.
“We had so many great memories. Why are they booing me?” he asked with a grin.
Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270