On Friday, new Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian announced his nearly-completed coaching staff that now features nine assistant coaches and the Director of Football performance, Torre Becton.
The only remaining opening on the staff is at linebackers coach, which Sarkisian will not fill with Alabama Crimson Tide analyst Mike Stoops, the former Oklahoma Sooners defensive coordinator, despite a report on late Thursday indicating that Stoops was expected to leave for Austin.
It’s a deeply experienced group with an impressive track record of success — 180 years experience coaching in college, and 208 years of coaching experience overall, 93 bowl game appearances, 11 CFP playoff games, and seven National Championship games with six national title wins.
“I’m so excited with how this staff is coming together and thrilled to be officially announcing a tremendous group of coaches, teachers and mentors that will be joining us at Texas,” Sarkisian said in a statement released by the school. “From a developmental and scheme standpoint, there’s a lot that goes into finding the right mix of coaches to put together to make your staff. We put a ton of thought into this, looked for the best fit in every position, are very happy with how it’s working out, and I really believe you can put this group of coaches up against any staff in the country. They all are highly-regarded, knowledgeable, proven coaches and teachers who can recruit with the best of them and will develop players and maximize their ability. All of them have had a lot of success, are outstanding mentors, coaches and leaders of men, and it’s just a great group of guys. They’ll all bring their strengths, but at the end of the day, we will come together as one to work toward achieving our common goal of building an elite program and winning championships.”
The range of experience for the staff includes three coaches from Alabama’s 2020 national championship team, four with experience coaching in the NFL, and a combined 25 conference championships.
“Player development, X’s and O’s, and ability to recruit were our priorities with this staff. When you look at their backgrounds, there’s experience and expertise from an NFL standpoint, coaching at a very high level in the college ranks, and it’s an outstanding collection of proven and successful recruiters, as well,” Sarkisian said. “For every coach we hired, I looked closely at their ability to recruit and evaluate prospects, and this group can do that with the best of them. They all have a great recruiting background and many of them with significant ties to recruiting in the state of Texas.”
New safeties coach Blake Gideon was a four-year starter for Texas and makes his return to the state, one of six assistant coaches who have experience coaching and recruiting the Lone Star State, including two assistants retained from former head coach Tom Herman’s staff and the return of former assistant Bo Davis.
“It was critical to hire enough coaches with ties to the state of Texas, and extensive backgrounds recruiting our great state,” Sarkisian said. “The Texas high school coaches are exceptional, and our relationships with them are critical, essential, and priority number one. We will recruit nationally, but we know we have to take care of Texas first and this is a staff that will do that extremely well.”
Sarkisian wanted coaches who could fit together as a staff and effectively build strong relationships with the players.
“Coaching is big, and they all have excellent track records in training players and developing fundamentals and techniques, but it’s a group that will do a phenomenal job building relationships and developing players, which will be a huge priority for us,” Sarkisian said. “Camaraderie was a key, as well. I think a staff that works well together works well with its players, and this group will definitely do that. This is a staff that will build tremendous relationships, cares deeply about the student-athletes and will put our young men in a position to be successful on the football field, in the classroom and in all aspects of their lives.
“I’m pumped up about our coaching staff, there’s a lot of work to be done, and now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
Kyle Flood — Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach
Flood and Sarkisian have worked together for the last four seasons — two at Alabama and two with the Atlanta Falcons. In 2020, Flood’s Crimson Tide offensive line didn’t just help win a national championship, it earned recognition as the nation’s top offensive line by earning the Joe Moore Award. Led by Alex Leatherwood, a consensus All-American and the nation’s top interior lineman, and Landon Dickerson, also a consensus All-American and the nation’s top center, the group anchored an offense that led the nation in third-down conversion percentage (58.9), team passing efficiency (198.99), and completion percentage (76.2), while ranking second nationally in scoring at 48.5 points per game and fourth in total offense at 541.6 yards per game, both school records.
Flood is a New York native and four-year letterman at Iona College with previous experience as the head coach at Rutgers in his 28 years of coaching.
AJ Milwee — Quarterbacks coach
Like Flood, Milwee followed Sarkisian to Austin after spending two years working together at Alabama, where Milwee was an analyst. Announced as the Arkansas State offensive coordinator in late December under Butch Jones, who spent two years as an analyst at Alabama and a year as the assistant to the head coach, Milwee decided to reverse course and join the Texas staff.
The Arkansas State gig wasn’t going to be the first time that Milwee held the title of offensive coordinator — he spent six years as the Akron offensive coordinator before joining Nick Saban’s staff in Tuscaloosa.
As a player, Milwee spent one season at Alabama before transferring to North Alabama and becoming a record-setting quarterback, notching school records in career passing yards (8,436), pass completions (677), passing attempts (1,030), touchdown passes (73), and total offense (9,401).
Stan Drayton — Offensive run game coordinator and running backs coach
One of two assistants retained by Sarkisian, Drayton is now entering his fifth season with the Longhorns, although he no longer holds the title of associate head coach. One of the coaches with previous NFL experience, Drayton provides some continuity for the staff, especially in the pursuit of the nation’s No. 3 running back, Cy-Fair’s LJ Johnson, currently a head-to-head battle with Texas A&M.
Drayton also oversaw the development of 2020’s No. 1 running back, Bijan Robinson, who had 703 rushing yards on just 86 carries as a true freshman to break the school’s single-season yards per carry average record at 8.2. Named the 2020 Alamo Bowl Offensive MVP thanks to a standout performance, Robinson racked up a team-high 915 all-purpose yards (703 rush/196 receiving/16 kick return), becoming the first freshman to lead the Longhorns in all-purpose yards since Cedric Benson in 2001.
Andre Coleman — Wide receivers coach
The other assistant coach retained by Sarkisian, Coleman enters his second season as the wide receivers coach at Texas following one year as an analyst. Like Milwee, Coleman has coordinator experience, serving in that role for one season under Bill Snyder.
In 2020, Coleman’s group included seven wide receivers with double-digit catches and eight different players with a touchdown catch. The nine touchdowns caught by redshirt sophomore Joshua Moore’s matched the highest single-season total since Jordan Shipley had 13 in 2009, even though Texas only played 10 games.
Jeff Banks — Assistant head coach, special teams coordinator, and tight ends coach
During the three seasons that Banks spent in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide won two SEC Championships and this year’s national title. A former punter at Washington State, Banks has spent 14 years coaching in the state of Texas, including from 2013 to 2017 at Texas A&M.
During his time with the Aggies, Banks became known as an elite recruiter, helping to land five-star quarterback Kyle Allen in the 2014 class and five-star wide receiver Christian Kirk in the 2015 recruiting class. At Alabama, Banks was the lead recruiter for former Texas quarterback commit Jalen Milroe and inside linebacker Kendrick Blackshire in the 2021 recruiting class.
Pete Kwiatkowski — Defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach
A defensive lineman for Boise State as a player, Kwiatkowski became a trusted assistant for Chris Petersen at his alma mater, earning the defensive coordinator job in 2010 and then remaining on Petersen’s Washington staff. Kwiatkowski comes to Austin after seven years in Seattle, during which the Huskies had three seasons — from 2016 to 2018 — ranked among the top 10 nationally in scoring defense and in the top 12 in total defense. The 2019 season saw UW ranked 15th nationally in scoring defense (19.4 points per game). Over Kwiatkowski’s seven seasons there, the Huskies defense allowed an average of less than 20 points per game.
Kwiatkowski is also known for his developmental ability — 17 of his defenders at Washington were selected in the NFL Draft, including 10 in the top two rounds.
Bo Davis — Defensive line coach
A longtime assistant under Saban, Davis spent six years at Alabama in two different stints and now returns to the Forty Acres after coaching on Mack Brown’s staff from 2010 to 2013. Since leaving Austin, Davis has spent four seasons coaching in the NFL, including the last three with the Detroit Lions.
The time in the NFL should only help Davis as a recruiter, an area in which he excelled during his second stint at Alabama. Davis was the primary recruiter for linebacker Ben Davis in the 2016 class, a consensus five-star prospect ranked as the nation’s top linebacker, and cornerback Kendall Sheffield, the No. 20 prospect and the No. 4 cornerback in the 2015 recruiting class.
Terry Joseph — Defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach
In the College Football Playoffs this season, Sarkisian got a close look at Joseph’s Notre Dame secondary. During Joseph’s time in South Bend, the Fighting Irish earned two College Football Playoff appearances and top No. 5 rankings. A New Orleans native, Joseph has previous coaching stints at LSU and Texas A&M and has spent five years of experience as a recruiting coordinator and seven years of experience as a high school coach.
Blake Gideon — Safeties coach
A fast-rising star in the coaching industry, Gideon returns to the Forty Acres, where he was a four-year starter at safety who had 276 tackles and 10 interceptions as a player. After his playing career ended, Gideon spent one year as a quality control assistant at Florida and one season as a graduate assistant at Auburn under Will Muschamp, his defensive coordinator at Texas.
Since then, his coaching career has taken off quickly, from Western Carolina in 2016 to Georgia State in 2018 to Houston in 2019 and Ole Miss in 2020. Now he’s back at Texas.
Torre Becton — Director of Football Performance
Becton spent the last four seasons leading the strength and conditioning program at Cal under former Sarkisian assistant Justin Wilcox. A 19-year coaching veteran, Becton previously worked for Sarkisian at Washington and also has experience in Texas as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Baylor from 2003 to 2006.