After helping lead the University of Alabama to another national championship, Steve Sarkisian formally began his tenure as the head coach at the University of Texas.
USA Today reports that at an introductory press conference, Sarkisian was asked to address an issue that caused controversy for the Longhorns’ this last season — how to handle the school’s controversial song, “The Eyes of Texas.”
“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.”
The song became a subject of controversy for the team last season, when a racial reckoning swept across the nation, including in college football locker rooms. “The Eyes of Texas” became controversial due to the song’s origins in minstrel shows — where white singers in blackface would perform during the early 20th century. Some players declined to participate in the singing of the song, which many Texas supporters see as a matter of tradition.
In October, according to USA Today, athletic director Chris Del Conte said that it was his expectation “that our teams show appreciation for our university, fans and supporters by standing together as a unified group for ‘The Eyes.’ ”
In his press conference on Tuesday, Sarkisian said he would welcome discussion about the school song, but also said “‘The Eyes of Texas’ is our school song. We support that song.”