Alabama Hiring Washington Coach Kalen DeBoer to Replace Nick Saban

By Dan Hope on January 12, 2024 at 3:06 pm
Kalen DeBoer
Mark J. Rebilas – USA TODAY Sports

Kalen DeBoer is leaving Washington to replace Nick Saban at Alabama.

Just four days after the Huskies’ national championship game loss to Michigan, DeBoer is on his way to Tuscaloosa as the new head coach of the Crimson Tide. DeBoer was officially announced as Alabama’s new head coach on Friday.

“I have always had an incredible respect for Alabama football and its commitment to excellence,” DeBoer said in a statement. “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.”

Washington made a concerted effort to retain DeBoer, offering him a contract that would have made him one of the 10 highest-paid in college football and more than doubled his current salary of $4.2 million, per ESPN’s Pete Thamel. Instead of staying with the Huskies, however, DeBoer will take on the challenge of succeeding Saban at Alabama.

Coming off of one of the best seasons in program history, Washington will now have to find a new head coach of its own as it prepares for its first season in the Big Ten. According to Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellenger, Washington has been vetting a pool of candidates that includes current offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb.

“Kalen DeBoer has been an outstanding leader of our football program and what he accomplished in two seasons on Montlake will forever be a part of our storied history. We are sad to see him leave and we did all that we could to keep Kalen at UW. But ultimately, he made a decision that was in the best interests of his family and furthered his professional goals. We thank Kalen for his service to Washington and wish him, Nicole, Alexis and Avery the very best in their new endeavor,” Washington athletic director Troy Dannen said in a statement.
"We have one of the best head coaching jobs in all of college football, with our recent success, our upcoming entry into the premier intercollegiate athletics conference, the Big Ten, our passionate supporters and fanbase, and a world-class university. Our search for a new head coach is underway and I am excited about what comes next for Husky Football."

DeBoer, who won three NAIA national championships as the head coach at his alma mater Sioux Falls, heads to Alabama after just two seasons at Washington in which he went 25-3. He previously spent two years at Fresno State, where he went 12-6. He became the head coach at Fresno State after one year as Indiana’s offensive coordinator in 2019.

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