EDIT: You can watch the press conference live at the following link:
Today at 1:00 Central, Kalen DeBoer will be formally introduced as the next head coach of the University of Alabama.
It will not, however, be his first taste of ‘Bama fandom. Last night, thousands braved the wind and cold to gather at the regional airport and welcome KDB, his family, and his majordomo to Tuscaloosa.
More people sitting in freezing weather to catch a glimpse of a man getting off a plane than Auburn can get in their basketball arena pic.twitter.com/uq1XTeiQHu— Nick Perkins (@NickyPerkss) January 13, 2024
Here is what DeBoer said in his brief remarks last night on the way to a players’ only meeting:
“I have always had an incredible respect for Alabama football and its commitment to excellence,” said DeBoer in a statement released by UA Athletics. “The tradition-rich history of this program is unmatched across the landscape of college athletics, and I look forward to continuing that moving forward.
“Following Coach Saban is an honor. He has been the standard for college football, and his success is unprecedented. I would not have left Washington for just any school. The chance to lead the football program at The University of Alabama is the opportunity of a lifetime. My family and I feel truly blessed and look forward to becoming a part of the Tuscaloosa community.
“I want to thank Director of Athletics Greg Byrne, President Stuart R. Bell, Chancellor Finis St. John and The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees for their belief in me to lead this program.”
And the praise was mutual, with Coach Saban saying this of KDB:
“I want nothing more than to see Alabama football continue to be successful, and Coach DeBoer is an outstanding choice to lead this program,” Saban said. “He has a proven track record of success and is one of the brightest football minds. Coach DeBoer has an excellent understanding of what it takes to be a successful head coach, whether it’s coaching, recruiting, developing players or building a culture.
“He has done a fantastic job at every stop of his coaching career, and I am excited to see what he will be able to accomplish in Tuscaloosa.
“Terry and I will be here to support Coach DeBoer and his family with everything they need.”
Details and feedback from the players meeting have been limited so far. However, presumptive returning starter and 2023 Heisman finalist quarterback Jalen Milroe, arrived at the meeting with Coach DeBoer, all smiles and with a hearty Roll Tide.
Jalen Milroe shouts to the fans “Roll Tide!” As he walks into Mal Moore “and I’m staying!” As he enters the building— Joe Gaither (@JoeGaither6) January 13, 2024
We will have a lot more coming for you over the next few weeks. But I suppose we should begin by answering the question: “Who is Kalen DeBoer.”
Brandon Marcello has an outstanding piece on just that.
As much as his friends and colleagues praise DeBoer’s organizational skills and leadership, the coach was equally a masterful schemer as an offensive play-caller at Sioux Falls. It’s what landed him the gig at Southern Illinois and jobs elsewhere in the decade-plus between head-coaching gigs. The creative DeBoer is constantly tweaking and finding ways to pressure defenses and dictate the game on his own terms and tempo.
“The expectation was national championship all the time at Sioux Falls, so I think that really drove everybody that was associated with it to an extreme level to be successful,” Morrell said.
The results at every stop for DeBoer are staggering, particularly in how fast his system turned programs around in a short time. As offensive coordinator, he helped a one-win Fresno State team in 2016 jump to 10 wins in 2017. Eastern Michigan improved from a one-win season to a 7-6 record, tying for the biggest turnaround in the FBS in 2016.
Indiana won eight games in 2019 for the first time in 26 years, and his offense ranked third in the Big Ten. Southern Illinois defeated 10 top-25 tears in his four years as coordinator.
And all of this was before he got his first crack as an FBS head coach at Fresno State. He’s 37-9 in four seasons as an FBS head coach at Fresno State and Washington. He never lost more than three games as a head coach at Fresno State, Washington and Sioux Falls.
So far, we don’t have any firm broadcast information from the University or Football SID for Coach DeBoer’s press conference, but we will update that as more information is known.