College Football

Steve Sarkisian returns as Alabama's offensive coordinator

(AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Steve Sarkisian is returning to Alabama as offensive coordinator, a position he held for the 2016 team for the national championship game loss to Clemson.

Alabama coach Nick Saban announced the hiring of Sarkisian and six other assistants on Friday, along with the promotion of Pete Golding to defensive coordinator.

"We are excited to be able to assemble such a talented group of coaches to develop our players both on and off the field," Saban said. "These coaches have a great mix of energy, enthusiasm and experience that will be a tremendous asset to our program.

"They are all excellent teachers of the game and fantastic recruiters who bring a wealth of experience to our staff."

Saban overhauled his staff for the second straight year after defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi left to become the Cleveland Browns' defensive line coach and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley was hired to lead Maryland's program.

Sarkisian took over the Crimson Tide offense before that title game played in January 2017 after Lane Kiffin left following the semifinals to begin duties as Florida Atlantic's head coach. Alabama won the Southeastern Conference in 2016 before the defeat to Clemson, and had the same outcome last season.

The former Southern California and Washington head coach, Sarkisian had been an offensive analyst in Tuscaloosa, then left to become offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons . Falcons coach Dan Quinn fired Sarkisian and his defensive and special teams coordinators after a 7-9 season.

Sarkisian's Falcons offense ranked fourth in the NFL in passing but 27th in rushing last season.

Golding was co-defensive coordinator last season and will still coach inside linebackers.

Golding, special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Jeff Banks and cornerbacks coach Karl Scott are holdovers from the 2018 staff.

Alabama also hired Brian Baker and Charles Huff as associate head coaches. Baker will work with the defensive line and Huff will coach running backs. Charles Kelly is the associate defensive coordinator and safeties coach, while Kyle Flood will work with the offensive line, Sal Sunseri with outside linebackers, and Holmon Wiggins with wide receivers.

Flood spent the last two seasons with Sarkisian as the Falcons' assistant offensive line coach.

Golding came to Alabama after two years as defensive coordinator at UTSA.

Four of Saban's hires came from other SEC teams. He hired Baker and Huff from Mississippi State, Kelly from Tennessee and Sunseri - a former Tide assistant - from Florida.

Wiggins was Virginia Tech's wide receivers coach the past three seasons.

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Updated February 15, 2019

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