Alabama hired Washington’s Kalen DeBoer as its next head coach following Nick Saban’s retirement, the Crimson Tide announced Friday.
DeBoer led the Huskies to a Pac-12 championship and a berth in the CFP National Championship this past season. The 49-year-old was named the AP Coach of the Year after posting a 14-1 record in 2023, with the only blemish being a loss to Michigan in the national title game. He compiled a 25-3 mark in two seasons at Washington.
Saban announced his resignation Wednesday after 17 years at the helm of the Crimson Tide. The legendary coach led Alabama to nine SEC titles and six national championships while helping numerous players reach the NFL.
“Following coach Saban is an honor,” DeBoer said in a statement. “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 athletic director Troy Dannen made an aggressive pitch to retain DeBoer, offering to double his $4.2-million salary and place him among the top 10 highest-paid coaches, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel.
DeBoer and Washington negotiated a two-year contract extension through 2028 in November, which included a $12-million buyout paid by the coach if he were to leave, sources told ESPN’s Mark Schlabach and Chris Low.
He emerged as one of the top candidates for Alabama’s opening after Oregon’s Dan Lanning, Texas’ Steve Sarkisian, and Florida State’s Mike Norvell reaffirmed their commitments to their respective schools.
The South Dakota native is credited with being integral to the reshaping of the program, which finished 4-8 just two years ago. In his first campaign on the Huskies’ sideline in 2022, DeBoer led his team to an 11-2 record, punctuated by a win over Texas in the Alamo Bowl.
DeBoer has quickly established himself as a competitor, posting a 104-12 career record, including a 12-2 mark against ranked opponents.
He captured three NAIA national titles at Sioux Falls between 2005-2009. DeBoer also served as the head coach at Fresno State (2020-2021) before joining Washington in November 2021.
Washington will now seek its third head coach since Chris Petersen resigned in December 2019.