Alabama’s Hires Deboer, Dodges A Program-Wrecking Mistake
After Nick Saban announced his retirement, Alabama brought in Washington’s Kalen Deboer, navigating away from the botch that has hounded college football programs for the last fifty years. Kudos to Alabama for breaking beyond their customary approaches.
Serving as the CEO of a Fortune 500 football program is one of the most pressure-filled and scrutinized jobs in the multi-billion dollar college athletics industry. At all levels, college athletic departments are afraid to unshackle themselves from unoriginal thoughts like pushing former assistants such as Lana Kiffin to the front of the line. There are dozens of brilliant coaches outside those walls, who have done exemplary jobs at less prestigious programs.
Yet, program after program pursues the alumni of the moment, an assistant coach or former assistant who hangs lowest on the outgoing legend’s coaching tree. History says that athletic departments who use their hearts over their heads when it comes time to appoint a new head football czar fail miserably.
Alabama’s chances of remaining on top of the college football mountain are slim. Erickson was an interloper from Washington State with a proven track record as a program architect. For Erickson then, and Deboer now, the mansion is already built. It just requires proper maintenance. Saban’s name recognition aided in recruiting, and while his successor is starting out with a head start thanks to the reinforced layers of blue chip recruits left behind and a national championship berth that solidified his status as an elite coach at the FBS level, he’ll have to get Alabama back at the pinnacle quickly to defy history.