Nearly four weeks after the Texas Longhorns hired Steve Sarkisian as the program’s 31st head coach, the school announced the addition of Sarkisian’s 10th and final on-field assistant, former Montana State head coach Jeff Choate.
“Jeff is an awesome final piece to an assistant coaching staff that, as I’ve said before, I’ll put up against anyone in the country,” Sarkisian said. “He is a highly-respected, accomplished coach who has a long history of working with outstanding defenses and developing players. When you watch the players he’s coached, they play hard, are fundamentally sound and he clearly does an exceptional job with them. His experience as a head coach, extensive background with special teams and wealth of knowledge in many areas will be a tremendous asset to our staff, as well. And, in talking to him about the job, I could really tell he’s passionate about football, brings a ton of energy to everything he does and cares deeply about the players. He’ll be a great culture fit with our staff and players, and I’m excited about all he’ll bring to our program.
“The camaraderie among our coaching staff is already strong, we’re off to a good start recruiting, I like where we’re headed from a football standpoint and the players are understanding the expectations and getting on the same page, as well. All in all, I feel really good about where we are at this point.”
Choate holds the title of co-defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach after four seasons as the head coach in Bozeman, a stretch that included an appearance in the FCS playoff semifinals in 2019 and a 19-9 record over the last two seasons. Texas defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski worked with Choate in 2014 and 2015 at Washington when Choate coached the defensive line and coordinated special teams. Choate also has Power Five experience serving as the special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach at Florida in 2013.
In addition to Choate, Texas announced the hire of several support staff members, including Chief of Staff Jason Grooms, who comes to Austin after seven years at Vanderbilt.
“We also added a critical piece to our support staff with Jeff Grooms taking on our Chief of Staff role,” Sarkisian said. “Jason is an extremely organized, hard-working, and dedicated guy who came highly recommended and will head up our administrative efforts and manage all of our football operations. We’re happy he’s joining us, and I know Torre Becton is thrilled to have his four assistant coaches for athletic performance in place, as well. Those guys are already putting in the work with the team in offseason workouts and will play a critical role in our success as a program.”
The four assistant coaches for strength and conditioning are Cory Castro, Isaiah Gonzales, Markus James, and Joe Vaughn. Castro spent the last five seasons at Cal under current Texas Director of Football Performance Torre Becton and previously worked at Texas as a strength and conditioning intern. The Director of Football Sports Sciences at Cal for four years, Gonzales was in charge of monitoring and interpreting Catapult GPS and Sparta Science. James also worked under Becton at Cal. Vaughn comes to Texas from Kansas State, where he was an assistant strength and conditioning coach.
“All of these additions are all gas and no brakes guys,” Sarkisian said. “They’ll come to work every day with the drive and determination to play their part in helping our players grow and develop in all facets of their lives and be all about building a championship program.”