Steve Sarkisian, who was promoted to offensive coordinator at the University of Alabama before the championship game last month, is headed to the NFL.
The Atlanta Falcons announced Tuesday that Sarkisian is the team’s new offensive coordinator, replacing Kyle Shanahan, who accepted the San Francisco 49ers’ head coaching job Monday.
It’s been a meteoric rebound for Sarkisian over the past six months. The 42-year-old began the season as an offensive analyst for Alabama. When offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin departed to accept a job as Florida Atlantic’s head coach, Sarkisian was promoted to the post, and was behind the controls for the championship game defeat to Clemson.
“We appreciate all Coach Sarkisian did for our program during his time here,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said in a statement issued by the school. “He is an outstanding coach, and we wish him the best in his new role as Atlanta’s offensive coordinator. As always, when we have an opening on our staff, we will use it as an opportunity to go out and hire the best coach available.”
Kyle Shanahan officially in as 49ers’ head coach
Now, Sarkisian is back in the NFL. His lone pro experience is a one-year year stint as the Oakland Raiders’ quarterbacks coach in 2004.
The California native was fired by USC in 2015 after he appeared at practice intoxicated. He subsequently entered an alcohol rehab facility, and later sued the university for $30 million in a wrongful termination claim.
Sarkisian will have plenty to work with, as he inherits the NFL’s No. 2-ranked offense, led by reigning MVP Matt Ryan and perhaps the best receiver in the game, Julio Jones.
He also has big shoes to fill. Shanahan is revered for his innovative scheme that spreads the field.