Alabama Hires Washington's Kalen DeBoer to Replace Nick Saban

In what's been a whirlwind three days, the dust settled with Kalen DeBoer taking over for Nick Saban at Alabama

2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington
2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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Alabama has hired Kalen DeBoer as their new head coach. DeBoer had been the head coach at Washington.

After Nick Saban announced his retirement on Wednesday, Alabama was in the unenviable spot of replacing the man who had won them six national titles. While rumors ran rampant (along with coaches getting raises (shoutout Jimmy Sexton) and making video announcements that they were staying put), Alabama began zeroing in on Washington head-man Kalen DeBoer before making it official on Friday.

DeBoer heads to Alabama after a two-year stop in Seattle, capped off by leading Washington to the National Title Game this season and a 14-1 finish (with the lone loss being to Michigan in the national championship game).

Under DeBoer's guidance, Washington turned into an offensive powerhouse this season (led by Heisman Trophy runner-up QB Michael Penix Jr.). Washington finished the year ranked second in passing yards per game and averaged 36 points per game (scoring over 40 points six times). Washington had the national lead in passing yards per game before the national title game.

The 49-year old has sky-rocketed up the coaching ranks, going from NAIA head coach to now the coach at Alabama in 15 years. DeBoer coached at NAIA Sioux Falls from 2005-2009, where he went 67-3 and won 3 NAIA national titles. He then worked his way up through the ranks as an assistant, before becoming a Head Coach again at Fresno State in 2020. After going 12-6 there (and 9-3 in year 2), he took over at Washington where he went 25-3 in 2 seasons.

DeBoer has an overall head coaching record of 104-12 (37-9 at the FBS level), a .897 winning percentage.

The biggest concern for DeBoer will be that he has yet to coach in the south, which might raise some questions over whether he can recruit the southeast. However, one must remember that prior to Nick Saban taking the job at LSU that he had never coached in the South before that either.

Also, Greg Byrne has nailed his last few coaching hires (look no further than Nate Oats) and Nick Saban was also seemingly involved in the process. What we also know, is that pressure on DeBoer will be immense, having to follow Saban. However, he has a history of winning.

Alabama will open up the Kalen DeBoer era in Bryant-Denny Stadium against Western Kentucky on August 31st. His first SEC game as a coach will be one of the premiere games of the season anywhere in the country, against Georgia on September 28th.

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