New Texas coach Steve Sarkisian on ‘The Eyes of Texas’: Longhorns players will ‘sing that proudly’

One day after helping Alabama capture the national title once again, Steve Sarkisian was formally introduced as the head coach of the Texas Longhorns. 

In his introductory press conference, the issue of the relationship between the football team and the school song, "The Eyes of Texas," was brought up. But as Sarkisian sees it, it isn't an issue at all.

“I know this much, ‘The Eyes of Texas’ is our school song,” Sarkisian said. "We’re going to sing that song. We’re going to sing that proudly.”

Some players' lack of participation in the postgame playing of "The Eyes of Texas" this past season under former coach Tom Herman became a rolling controversy of sorts around the Longhorns. Several players protested the song due to its racist origins. (The song was performed at minstrel shows.) 

Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte, who did not hire Herman, said in October it was his expectations "that our teams 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 issued a statement unequivocally saying, "'The Eyes of Texas' is, and will remain, the official school song." 

On Tuesday, Sarkisian said discussion about the school song and other issues are welcome, but that “‘The Eyes of Texas’ is our school song. We support that song.”

Steve Sarkisian, seen here before Monday night's national championship game, held his introductory press conference at Alabama on Tuesday. (Photo: Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports)

Sarkisian, 44, will be a head coach for the third time. He previously served as head coach of Washington from 2009-2013 and Southern California in 2014-15.

A battle with alcohol addiction nearly derailed his career. After a stint in rehab, "Sark" landed at Alabama for the 2016 season before spending two years as the offensive coordinator of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. He returned to Alabama and served as the Crimson Tide's offensive coordinator the last two seasons. This year's team produced one of the great college football offenses of all time and earned Sarkisian the Broyles Award, given to college football's best assistant coach. 

Contributing: Austin American-Statesman, Associated Press

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