Hard to believe it was just five years ago Steve Sarkisian was fired as USC’s head coach. Just past his 40th birthday, Sarkisian was in place at his dream job, then lost it in just about the most public, most painful way possible.
Half a decade later, he’s back in a top-10 job, a transformation that makes five years feel both so recent and so distant in equal measure.
The new head ‘Horn held his introductory press conference in Austin on Tuesday and was asked about his climb back to the peak of his profession.
“When you experience that, a lot of coaches go one of two ways. It really drove me just to be the best coach I could be,” he said. “I wasn’t worried about if I was going to be a head coach again, I just wanted to be the best version of Steve Sarkisian every day. How can I get better? Is there a better way to run this play? Is there a better way to recruit? I just kept looking for ways to get better and better and better.”
You can see the parallels there with in his battle with alcoholism. Sarkisian said in 2017 that battling that disease is “something I have to work on every single day.” You can also see Saban-ism there, a devotion to The Process and being where your feet are — two prized Saban sayings.
Either way, Sarkisian kept his head down and continued working, and becoming the head coach at Texas isn’t a signal that it’s time to change the approach that re-made his personal life and saved his career. On the contrary, it’s proof that he needs to double down on it.
“This isn’t a destination day for me,” he said. “This is a stop on the road for me to say, okay, this is where I am now but the mindset’s not going to change for me. We’ve got to keep going to work. That’s the adage ‘All Gas No Brakes.’ I want our players to feel that mentality that this isn’t a destination day — now I can relax I’m the head coach at Texas. This is an opportunity day, now what are we going to do with it?”