USA TODAY Sports̵
One day after helping Alabama regain the national title, Steve Sarkisian was formally introduced as the head coach of the Texas Longhorns.
In his introductory press conference, the question of the relationship between the football team and the school’s song “The Eyes of Texas” was brought up. But as Sarkisian sees it, it is not a problem at all.
“I know so much, ‘The Eyes of Texas’ is our school song,” Sarkisian said. “We must sing that song. We must sing it proudly.”
Some players’ lack of participation in the mail game of “The Eyes of Texas” last season under former coach Tom Herman became a kind of rolling controversy surrounding the Longhorns. Several players protested against the song because of its racist origins. (The song was performed on minstrelshow.)
Texas athletic instructor Chris Del Conte, who did not hire Herman, said in October that it was his expectations, “that our team show appreciation for our university, fans and supporters by standing together as a unified group for ‘The Eyes’.”
Later in October, the University of Texas System Board of Regents unequivocally issued a statement saying, “‘The Eyes of Texas’ is and will remain the official school song.”
On Tuesday, Sarkisian said discussions on school song and other topics are welcome, but that “‘The Eyes of Texas’ is our school song. We support that song.”
Sarkisian, 44, becomes head coach for the third time. He previously served as head coach for Washington from 2009-2013 and Southern California in 2014-15.
A battle with alcohol addiction almost derailed his career. After a period of rehabilitation, “Sark” landed in Alabama in the 2016 season before spending two years as the offensive coordinator for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. He returned to Alabama and served as the Crimson Tides offensive coordinator for the past two seasons. This year’s team produced one of the greatest college football offenses ever and earned the Sarkisian Broyles Award, which was given to college football’s best assistant coach.
Contribution: Austin American-Statesman, Associated Press