‘All Gas No Brakes’: Sarkisian ready to get to work at Texas

Carter Yates

Less than 24 hours before his first official press conference as Texas football’s head coach, Steve Sarkisian won a championship as Alabama’s offensive coordinator. There, he emphasized his excitement to get to work in Austin.

Accompanied by UT Board of Regents Chair Kevin Eltife, President Jay Hartzell and Texas athletics director Chris Del Conte, Sarkisian expressed his gratitude to the University for naming him the 31st head football coach in school history. Sarkisian will take on his third head coaching stint after compiling a combined 46-35 record serving as the head coach at the University of Washington and the University of Southern California. 

“I noticed it earlier when I walked into the building, a sign that was downstairs that read, ‘The pride and winning tradition of the Texas Longhorns is not to be entrusted to the weak or timid,’” Sarkisian said. “I’ve had a lot of self-searching in this profession. I had to climb my way back in this profession, and none of that would have happened if I was timid or weak.”

Sarkisian has spent the last five years of his career climbing back to the top of the coaching realm. After being fired from USC in 2015 amid reports of alcohol-related incidents, Sarkisian rebuilt his reputation by serving as Alabama’s offensive coordinator for the past two seasons.

The former Alabama play caller is confident his journey has made him a better coach, and person, today than he was in 2015. Del Conte is too. 

“(It) inspired Chairman Eltife, it inspired President Hartzell,” Del Conte said. “We sat there and said, ‘This is who we want.’”

Sarkisian called plays for an Alabama offense that put up 52 points and 621 yards of total offense in Monday night’s national championship game against Ohio State. On the recruiting side, the offensive outburst resulted in Sarkisian’s first commitment to Texas before he even officially started the job. 

Armani Winfield, a four-star wide receiver in the class of 2022 out of Lewisville, Texas, committed to the Longhorns at halftime of the national championship after watching Alabama’s offense under Sarkisian.

“The energy and excitement for our program right now I think is directly effective to what’s happening in recruiting,” Sarkisian said. “From the moment I got hired up until last night after the game and getting a commitment to the program already from an in-state player, that just tells you about where the excitement of Longhorn football is right now.”

President Hartzell noted Sarkisian’s relentless work ethic and passion for student-athletes, something that the three-man committee of Del Conte, Eltife and Hartzell were looking for during the hiring process.

“If you’re around Steve, you can feel the energy radiating from him,” Hartzell said. “And it’s not just football. You can hear his passion for developing the whole person, making sure student-athletes are ready for success in all facets of their lives.”

Despite not being a full day removed from finishing the grind of a national championship season at Alabama, Sarkisian knows that his success at Texas will be a result of his hard work.

“To Longhorn nation, it’s time to go to work,” Sarkisian said. “You guys have probably seen my mantra, this work will be ‘All Gas and No Brakes.’ We will go to it full-fledge. We will lay down on the hammer and go get it.”