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May 23, 2024

12-Year-Old Caller Breaks News of Kalen DeBoer as Alabama’s Next Head Coach

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Jan 16, 2024

Alabama stunned the college football world this week by hiring Washington’s Kalen DeBoer to replace the retiring legendary coach Nick Saban. The surprising news was actually broken not by a major news outlet but rather by a 12-year-old caller into the Paul Finebaum show.

Finebaum Caller Reports Inside Scoop on Coaching Search

On Monday afternoon, a youthful voice identified as “Eli from Tuscaloosa” called into national sports radio host Paul Finebaum’s popular college football call-in show. He confidently declared that “My dad’s friend is one of the assistant athletic directors at Alabama and he told my dad they are going to hire Kalen DeBoer from Washington.” [1]

Finebaum and co-host Kelvin Washington were clearly skeptical of information coming from a pre-teen. But Eli stood by his report that DeBoer would be named as the next Crimson Tide head man, succeeding Saban who earlier this month stunned the sport by announcing his retirement after a record-setting 17 year run at Alabama. [2]

Breaking: DeBoer Named as Alabama’s New Coach

Just a day later on Tuesday morning, various media outlets confirmed that DeBoer had indeed accepted the Alabama job. The 49 year old agreed to a long-term 10 year, $100 million contract. [14] He informed his team at Washington that he would be leaving to take on the challenge of following Saban’s enormous legacy guiding one of college football’s all-time elite programs.

Kalen DeBoer’s Coaching Profile

So who exactly is Kalen DeBoer? He has quickly risen up the coaching ranks after paying his dues for over 2 decades at small schools. DeBoer got his first collegiate head coaching opportunity in 2019 at FCS school Southern Illinois. His fast-paced offenses led the school to their best seasons in years. [11]

After just one season there, FBS conference school Fresno State took a chance on DeBoer. He again brought his offensive creativity to immediately improve the Bulldogs, including a 9-3 season in 2021.

When Washington coach Jimmy Lake was fired, DeBoer then made the quantum leap to take over the major Pac-12 program. He led the Huskies to a sterling 11-2 record in 2022, including an upset of highly-ranked Oregon to capture the conference crown.

Now DeBoer reaches the pinnacle of the profession with his shocking hiring at Alabama. Despite his great success at Washington in just one year, few expected him to ascend so rapidly to the elite tier of coaches headed to college football’s greatest powerhouse.

Reactions: Unproven DeBoer a Risky Hire

The hiring of DeBoer brings tremendous intrigue around the Alabama football program for the first time in nearly two decades. Reactions to the news have been mixed given the huge shadow cast by his legendary predecessor.

Many fans on social media applauded the outside-the-box hire. [17] With no ties to Saban and his coaching tree, DeBoer offers a fresh perspective. His history of lighting up scoreboards also provides hope that he can attract the elite offensive talent that has powered the Crimson Tide machine.

However, others see the choice of the unproven DeBoer as a major risk. Alabama will expect to continue championship-level success. But replacing a icon in Nick Saban who set impossibly high standards will be an immense challenge for a first-time coach in the Southeastern Conference. [24][30]

DeBoer will also need to quickly assemble a staff to keep Alabama’s recruiting juggernaut going. Potential transfer departures after Saban’s exit also raise concerns about retaining NFL-level talent on the roster.

Nonetheless, DeBoer made an extremely positive first impression at his introductory press conference. He confidently embraced the towering expectations to bring more titles to Tuscaloosa. DeBoer also highlighted his offensive system built on “speed and space” that has a proven track record quickly elevating programs. [29][32]

What’s Next: Pressure Building Heading into 2024 Season

For now, Alabama fans are cautiously hopeful that athletic director Greg Byrne’s gamble on DeBoer will pay dividends. Still, the pressure will be immense on the new regime to keep the Crimson Tide on top of the sport.

Alabama is coming off a “disappointing” (by its lofty standards) 11-2 season in 2023 that ended without an SEC championship or College Football Playoff appearance. DeBoer will be expected to quickly get the Tide back into national title contention. [25]

DeBoer must put the finishing touches on his staff. He made a smart move by reportedly bringing his defensive coordinator from Washington, William Inge, to Tuscaloosa. Keeping offensive wizard Ryan Grubb as the OC also provides scheme continuity. [33][35]

But many eyes will be on the transfer portal to see if DeBoer can use his reputation for innovation to keep Alabama’s offensive stars from bolting. The next few weeks will set the table for how equipped he is to tackle the nation’s most pressure-packed job when spring practice kicks off.

The 2024 schedule also ratchets up the heat early. Alabama starts with an SEC showdown against nationally-ranked Tennessee seeking revenge for recent defeats. Cross-division foes Georgia and LSU also loom as supreme challenges.

DeBoer will quickly learn how much Saban set the bar at an untouchable level over 8 national titles. Now the improbable 12-year-old prophet who broke this bombshell story gets to sit back and see if Coach DeBoer’s arrival sparks a new era that brings the glory days back to Alabama.

Potential Transfer Departures

Player Position Status Potential Destination
Bryce Young QB NFL Draft Top 5 pick
Jahmyr Gibbs RB Transfer Portal Georgia, Oklahoma, Miami
Jermaine Burton WR Transfer Portal Texas, Louisville, Colorado
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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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