James Jones column: DeBeor deserves chance to succeed at Alabama

Published 9:20 am Thursday, January 18, 2024

On paper, Alabama hired the right person to succeed Nick Saban as Crimson Tide football coach. 

Getting Kalen DeBoer, who just led Washington to the national championship game, was a great move, especially two days after Saban retired.

I applaud Alabama Athletic Director Greg Byrne on this move. Bryne did the proper courtesies to offer Steve Sarkasian of Texas, and Oregon’s Dan Lanning the job because of their ties with Saban. When they declined, as I expected, Byrne went to DeBeor, 

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DeBeor was offered the Crimson Tide job and accepted the chance to succeed Saban, arguably the greatest coach in college football history.

“I would not have left Washington for just any school,” DeBeor said at the press conference on Jan. 13 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa “The chance to lead the football program at The University of Alabama is the opportunity of a lifetime., DeBeor said. 

I admire how DeBeor embraced the opportunity to succeed Saban, who won a record-seven national championships. 

If DeBeor asked my opinion, here is what I would tell him: recruit great players and avoid the comparison to Saban. Be yourself and build your own legacy. 

DeBeor has an impressive resume, which can translate to Alabama. When DeBeor arrived on Jan. 12, he addressed the Crimson Tide players for the first time and spoke passionately to them. 

“Just give me a chance,” DeBoer told the players. “Give me a chance to show you a few of the things. I’m gonna listen to you. I’m gonna meet you where you’re at right now and try to show them through proof of things that have happened, whether it’s at Washington or, we haven’t got into much beyond that, but what this will look like.”

DeBeor has strong family support, with his wife Nicole DeBoer, and their daughters, Alexis and Avery. The DeBeor women were enthusiastic and greeted fans at the Tuscaloosa Airport.

I’m asking the fans and media to give DeBeor a chance. I count myself in that mix as well. He deserves the opportunity to restore Alabama’s national championship legacy.