104-12. That’s 49-year-old Kalen DeBoer’s’ record as a coach in college football, regardless of the level. Deboer has recently been named the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, replacing legendary head coach Nick Saban who retired earlier this week after 17 season in Tuscaloosa.
Deboer has had stops at Sioux Falls, Southern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, Fresno State and Indiana where he has been offensive coordinator at each. Known as a talented offensive mind, one of DeBoer’s’ most well-known player on offense he is coach is quarterback Michel Penix Jr. who just led the Washington Huskies to the national championship game under Deboer in DeBoer’s first season at the school.
Also notable is that it was also Penix Jr.’s first season. Penix followed Deboer from Indiana where he appeared in seven games under Deboer during the 2019 season when Deboer was offensive coordinator. In 160 attempts, Penix Jr. completed 68 percent of his passes. It is no wonder he followed Deboer to the Huskies after things trended downward at Indiana.
The two paired up again this year in Pullman, Washington all season that led to Penix Jr. ending up in New York as a Heisman finalist.
After taking over as the interim head coach in 2020 at Fresno State, DeBoer’s first season at Fresno State was a 9-3 campaign which propelled him to the head coaching position at the University of Washington where he went 25-3 in his two seasons in Pullman.
This was enough for the Tide to pull the trigger on hiring Deboer. The biggest question mark on Deboer is not necessarily his ability to win, but recruit. And not just recruit, but recruit against some of the best in the same in the southeastern conference in an area with which he is not geographically familiar. According to www.on3.com , DeBoer’s’ first two recruiting classes for full cycles at the University of Washington have been 27th in 2023, and 30th so far for 2024.
These classes would rank 12th and 15th respectively when compared to all other SEC teams. Although this looks bleak, Deboer will be recruiting in a different part of the country, and what many would argue a different level of athlete than many recruited out west, which could elevate his future classes in itself.
Regardless, it is all about winning. And with a record of 104-12 as both an assistant and a head coach at the collegiate level, it is obvious Deboer has a positive presence and ability to get the job done. The challenge will be unprecedented in Tuscaloosa. So time will have to tell if Deboer can get the job done. And it starts now.