College Football
Alabama hires Washington's Kalen DeBoer to replace Nick Saban as coach
College Football

Alabama hires Washington's Kalen DeBoer to replace Nick Saban as coach

Updated Jan. 12, 2024 8:08 p.m. ET

Washington's Kalen DeBoer will be the next head coach at Alabama and replace the legendary Nick Saban, ESPN reported and FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman confirmed Friday.

Saban, 72, announced his retirement Wednesday after 17 years at the helm and six national championships in Tuscaloosa. 

DeBoer just capped off his second season in Seattle with a trip to the College Football National Championship, which ended in a 34-13 loss to Michigan

FOX Sports analyst Joel Klatt said earlier this week that Alabama was zeroing in on DeBoer as its leading candidate.


Alabama made the announcement official on Friday.

Washington went 14-1 this season and 11-2 last season under DeBoer (25-3 overall). Prior to joining Washington, DeBoer was the head coach at Fresno State from 2020-21, compiling a 12-6 record. 

DeBoer will have big shoes to fill in Tuscaloosa in taking over for Saban, who is widely considered the greatest head coach in college football history.

DeBoer led his alma mater Sioux Falls to a 67-3 record from 2005-09 and won three NAIA championships at the small, Baptist-affiliated school in South Dakota’s largest city. He later had immediate success at Fresno State, going 12-6 in two seasons from 2020-21 before taking over a Washington team that had finished 4-8 in 2021.

Alabama hiring Kalen DeBoer

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At Alabama, he would replace a coach who won a major college record seven national titles, including one at LSU. The Crimson Tide have been in national title contention just about every season since winning their first in 17 seasons back in 2009, Saban’s third year.

Alabama’s short-term expectations won’t change with a team led by quarterback Jalen Milroe and a roster fortified by a string of highly rated recruiting classes.

DeBoer coached Heisman Trophy runner-up Michael Penix Jr. last season and brings an offensive track record to replace Saban, a former NFL defensive coordinator. He was Fresno State’s offensive coordinator in the 2017 and 2018 seasons and held the same job at Indiana for a year before replacing Jeff Tedford.

DeBoer was an All-America receiver at Sioux Falls who helped the Cougars win their first national championship in 1996. He then stayed on as receivers coach, returning in 2000 as offensive coordinator after a stint as a high school coach in Sioux Falls.

(Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.)

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