Steve Sarkisian leaves Alabama to become offensive coordinator for Atlanta Falcons

Steve Sarkisian is headed to the Atlanta Falcons.

The former USC coach has agreed to become the offensive coordinator for the defending NFC champions, the Falcons announced Tuesday morning.

Sarkisian spent last season as offensive analyst at Alabama and was recently hired as the team’s offensive coordinator, replacing another former Trojans coach, Lane Kiffin. After Kiffin left the Crimson Tide early to concentrate on his new job as head coach at Florida Atlantic, Sarkisian called Alabama’s offensive plays in the College Football Playoff national championship loss to Clemson.

In Atlanta, Sarkisian will replace former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who is the new head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Shanahan’s final game with the Falcons was Sunday night’s overtime loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

A former quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at USC, Sarkisian was head coach at Washington from 2009 to 2013 before being lured away by the Trojans. That stint didn't end well, as Sarkisian was dismissed by USC during his second season for erratic behavior and alcohol-related issues.

Sarkisian filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against USC, alleging discrimination on the basis of disability and breach of contract. The suit was moved to binding arbitration last year. Per court records, the arbitration proceeding is scheduled to start in July.

He spent nearly a year out of football before being hired by Coach Nick Saban at Alabama.

“I told him we’d love to have him as part of the organization,” Saban said at the time. “Look, I’ve known him for a long time,  and he’s a very, very good coach.”

Staff writers Nathan Fenno and David Wharton contributed to this report.

Twitter: @chewkiii


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9:55 a.m.: This article was updated with the Falcons’ announcement and more details. 

This article was originally published at 9:25 a.m.

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