Texas AD defends Sarkisian, urges fans not to ‘separate’


Texas coach Steve Sarkisian, center, stands alongside linebacker Devin Richardson (30) as they sing “The Eyes of Texas” after a 57-56 loss to Kansas in overtime in a NCAA college football game in Austin, Texas on Saturday, November 13, 2021 (AP Photo / Chuck Burton)


Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte on Tuesday urged Texas fans not to “go their separate ways or their lives,” but rather to support first-year football coach Steve Sarkisian and the players during the worst streak of consecutive defeats of the program in 65 years.

“I know we’re all really disappointed, and there’s a lot to talk about, but now is not the time to go our separate ways or go their separate ways in any way. We need to stay positive and stay united as the Longhorn family, ”Del Conte wrote in his weekly post.

“We know there are better days to come, and I know you will continue to be the wind under our wings to help us make it happen,” Del Conte wrote.

Texas, which started the season 21st, have lost five straight games. That includes last week’s 57-56 overtime loss to Kansas, who had not won on the road in the Big 12 since 2008, a 56-game streak.

The Texas skid is the worst on the schedule since a 1-9 season in 1956. The Longhorns must win their last two games against West Virginia and Kansas State to become eligible for a bowl.

Del Conte wrote more than 700 words to defend Sarkissian, his staff and the players. The post noted the high attrition rate of highly ranked recruiting classes in 2018 and 2019; a flu epidemic that prevented more than 25 players from training for part of the last week; and season-ending injuries to tailback Bijan Robinson and defensive back Josh Thompson.

“It’s not to blame or apologize; it’s just that we have real deep issues, ”Del Conte wrote.

He also strongly suggested that Sarkisian not be asked to make changes to his staff during the offseason. Sarkisian is in the first year of a six-year guaranteed contract worth approximately $ 34 million.

“We have a group of coaches who have a proven track record and have a wealth of experience. They all succeeded at the highest level. They will help us do it here as well. The guys are fighting against them on the pitch, and we have a really good group of student-athletes who are giving it their all, ”wrote Del Conte.

Sarkisian, a former head coach in Washington and Southern California, was the offensive coordinator for the previous two seasons in Alabama and won the 2020 national championship with the Crimson Tide.

He moved to Austin after Texas sacked Tom Herman after four winning seasons and four bowl wins, but no Big 12 championships.

“Coach Sark is building a culture, he has a great group of coaches with him, and we provide all the support we can muster to help them reorient our program,” Del Conte wrote.

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