Completing a process that began in earnest after the Texas Longhorns made the program’s first appearance in the College Football Playoffs and gained increased urgency when Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban retired on Wednesday, head coach Steve Sarkisian and the school agreed to a four-year contract extension announced on Saturday.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Sarkisian is likely in line for a significant raise as well after making about $5.6 million before bonuses. Six coaches made $10 million or more last season.
The 2023 season for the Longhorns that included the first Big 12 title since 2009 ahead of this year’s move to the SEC was the third year of an initial six-year contract for Sarkisian that now runs through 2030.
“Coach Sark is an incredible coach, a first-class person, and a tremendous leader of men,” said Kevin Eltife, Chairman of the UT System Board of Regents. “We knew he was the man for the job when we hired him three years ago, and the way he stuck to the plan he laid out for us, stayed the course in putting everything in place, and got our football program back among the best in the nation has been phenomenal. What a year it was in 2023, winning the final Big 12 Championship and taking us to the CFP for the first time, and we know the best is yet to come. Coach Sark has brought the pride and passion back in our program, we’re so fortunate to have him, and we’re looking forward to many more exciting years ahead.”
Sarkisian’s three seasons on the Forty Acres have featured steady improvement from 5-7 in his first year to 8-5 and now to 12-2, earning Texas the No. 3 ranking in the final AP Poll, the highest since finishing No. 2 after the 2009 season, and marking only the fourth season in school history with 12 or more wins.
“What a great day it is to have Coach Sarkisian’s contract extended to 2030,” said UT president Jay Hartzell. “He’s done a remarkable job rebuilding and taking our football program back to great heights in three short years. But the things that make me most proud are the leadership he’s brought and its impact on our student-athletes. This shows up in the culture he’s built in our program and the wonderful ways our student-athletes represent the University. We are competing at the highest level with class, dignity, and a Texas Fight that has been so fun to see Longhorn Nation embrace. Coach Sark is authentic, a man of great integrity, and a gifted developer of exceptional talent. I couldn’t be more grateful to have him as our coach.”
The schedule featured 10 teams that made bowl games, including a road game in Tuscaloosa against Alabama that ended the 21-game winning streak for the Crimson Tide and arguably influenced Saban’s decision to end his 17-year tenure.
“First and foremost, we couldn’t have done this without the incredible leadership of the Chairman of our Board of Regents Kevin Eltife and President Hartzell. They play a critical role in everything we do, and we’re so grateful for their support of our athletic department. What Coach Sarkisian has done in building us back into one of the nation’s premier football programs has been awesome to watch. Last year was a historic one and a joy to be a part of, but the steadfast commitment he’s made in establishing the foundation of a program built for long-term success is such a critical piece to this. His leadership, ability to develop players, and the way he and his staff get the best out of each and every student-athlete and the entire team is extraordinary. He’s all about the process, brings great energy and passion every day and thrives on building a truly connected team. His tireless commitment to recruiting the best players to Texas is evident, and the relationships he builds with them are a key to his success. He’s also played a vital role in re-energizing Longhorn nation and is an impactful leader for us across all of athletics,” said Del Conte.
“As we head into the SEC next year, we’re doing that with a great deal of momentum, a program we’re extremely proud of and with a great head coach and leader. We knew that Coach Sarkisian was the man for the job when we hired him, and he’s proven that each step of the way. We couldn’t be more excited about where we are and where we’re headed, and we’re thrilled that Coach Sark will be our coach for a long time.”
Sarkisian was named a finalist for three coach of the year awards and was tabbed the Big 12 Coach of the Year by the Associated Press, who opted against the snub provided by the conference coaches. Heading into year four, Sarkisian now boasts a 25-14 record at Texas by going 20-7 over the past two seasons with the eight wins in Big 12 regular season action in 2023 the most since 2009. Over 10 years as a head coach, Sarkisian is 71-49 with seven bowl bids.
“I said it when I came here three years ago, this is a dream job for me. It’s a destination job, and I’m fired up every day to be the head coach at The University of Texas,” Sarkisian said. “We’re thrilled with what we’ve been able to accomplish and proud of the culture we’ve built and the way our players have grown — on and off the field. But we’re just getting started. I’ve said it all along, we’ve been building this program for long term success. We’re here to chase greatness, win championships, and be one of the best in the nation year in and year out. And we’re so lucky to have an awesome group of players, a great staff, an unbelievably supportive administration, and the power of Longhorn Nation behind us to help us do that. I can’t thank CDC, President Hartzell and Chairman Eltife enough for their commitment to our mission from day one, and I’m grateful for their continued support.”