Nick Saban Praises Kalen DeBoer, Keeping “Arms Length” From Alabama Head Coach

Nick Saban might have retired as Alabama's head coach, but his opinion still holds sway, and he holds a high one of his replacement, Kalen DeBoer.

Former Alabama head coach Nick Saban may be retired, but his opinion still matters. Following his retirement after 17 seasons at the helm, in a career that marks him as the greatest college head coach of all time, Saban was replaced by Kalen DeBoer.

Saban was asked what he thought about DeBoer’s start to life as his successor at his recent award ceremony, providing an insight into his opinion on the man tasked with replacing him in Tuscaloosa.

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What Does Nick Saban Think of Kalen DeBoer?

Speaking at the 2024 Nick Saban Legacy Awards, the legendary head coach spoke about many topics, including the future of college football and his appearance on College GameDay. When addressing the media, he was also asked how well DeBoer had done since taking over in Tuscaloosa.

“I really haven’t been around,” said Saban. “I really try to stay arm’s length. I don’t want anybody to think I’m looking over their shoulder. I think he’s hired a good staff. I think he’s a good man. I think he’s a good coach, and I think he’ll do a really good job.”

DeBoer’s staff in Tuscaloosa includes former South Alabama head coach Kane Wommack and former Buffalo head coach Maurice Linguist as co-defensive coordinators after leaving prominent positions to join the Crimson Tide.

The staff would have also included Ryan Grubb, who followed DeBoer from Washington. However, he has taken up the offensive coordinator job in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks.

Despite remaining in Tuscaloosa in an advisory role, Saban appears to be staying well away from coaching responsibilities and trusts DeBoer to make the right decisions.

Saban’s comments build on what he said in the aftermath of DeBoer being named his successor. Posting on the official Alabama Football X, formally known as Twitter, account, the former Crimson Tide head coach commented about how good of an appointment the former Washington HC was.

“I want nothing more than to see Alabama football continue to be successful, and Coach DeBoer is an outstanding choice to lead this program. He has a proven track record of success and is one of the brightest football minds,” Saban said.

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“Coach DeBoer has an excellent understanding of what it takes to be a successful head coach, whether it is 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 anything they need.”

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