Kalen DeBoer To Succeed Nick Saban At Alabama

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2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington
HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 08: Head coach Kalen DeBoer of the Washington Huskies looks on before the 2024 CFP National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at NRG Stadium on January 08, 2024 in Houston, Texas. The Michigan Wolverines won 34-13. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
DeBoer becomes the first new head coach in Tuscaloosa since 2007.

Washington Huskies head coach Kalen DeBoer will succeed Nick Saban at Alabama, sources have told ESPN. The news is the first major link to a new coach in Tuscaloosa after Saban's sudden retirement earlier this week. Previously, Oregon head coach Dan Lanning announced this intention to remain at his current school. Washington is reportedly aggressively fighting to keep DeBoer, who guided the team to the National Championship Game this season and has lost just three games over the past two seasons.

The 49-year-old DeBoer turned Washington from an ailing Pac-12 cast-off into the conference's best team. His first head coaching tenure was spent at his alma mater, Sioux Falls and won three NAIA championships. After subsequently spending a decade in offensive coordinating roles, DeBoer received his first D1 head coaching role at Fresno State. DeBoer led the Bulldogs to their first bowl game in three years before leaving for Washington ahead of the 2022 season.

Nick Saban Retires, Leaving Big Shoes for Kalen DeBoer

However, if DeBoer is hired, he would be stepping into both the most coveted and difficult coaching job in college football. Saban led Alabama to six national titles and finished with a record of 201-29 at the school. After falling to Michigan in the CFP Semifinals, the expectation is for Alabama to ride the momentum of Jalen Milroe's emergence and challenge for a title in 2024.

Furthermore, the new coach, who is now expected to be DeBoer, will have to contend with an NIL machine that Saban held disdain for. Despite this, Saban has denied speculation that his retirement was due to the evolving world of compensation for college athletes. "Don't make it about that. It's not about that. To me, if you choose to coach, you don't need to be complaining about all that stuff. You need to adjust to it and adapt to it and do the best you can under the circumstances and not complain about it," Saban told ESPN. While Saban had previously expressed doubts about NIL, namely that it could create a "pay to play" system. However, he also acknowledged that it was the future of college athletes.


About The Author
Benjamin Mock (they/them) is a sports and culture writer working out of Philadelphia. Previously writing for the likes of Fixture, Dexerto, Fragster, and Jaxon, Ben has dedicated themselves to engaging and accessible articles about sports, esports, and internet culture. With a love for the weirder stories, you never quite know what to expect from their work.