Offseason Thread: When Saban Retires -- Who?

81usaf92

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Either after the next NC or 3-4 years. I don’t see a Bowden or Paterno situation here.

As to who replaces him… I would say if Aranda doesn’t have a big job then that is a possibility. I think CNS probably has some say as well. But I ultimately think it’s probably going to be someone that divides the fanbase because it’s not a huge name or someone with trophies.
 

81usaf92

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Again, I highly doubt Dabo is even on the table at this point. He wouldn’t come even if we offered.
It really depends on when and how I think. Let’s say Saban retires at Sofi after raising another trophy and Dabo has another down year (3 losses). I think Dabo would want to try to get the hell out of a bad situation and try to get one more. I hope neither happens but it’s probably a situation in which Dabo would consider leaving. But I think Dabo stays where there is no pressure on him.

Because let’s face it… Clemson isn’t winning another one unless Dabo stops being this “defender of the old system” in practice and in theory.
 

NoNC4Tubs

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Personally, I wouldn't mind Kirby Smart coming back into the fold here. If anyone has duplicated Saban's system, CKS Has come the closests.
Sorry, don't see that happenin'....

Smart is making his own legacy at his alma mater. :cool:
 

NoNC4Tubs

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I think whoever is the AD at the time will be a big factor.

Mal put the good ole boys in place to bring CNS in, however now...:rolleyes:
 

DawgAlum2054

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Sam Pittman and Mark Stoops over Lane Kiffin (at this time at least)

Luke Fickell
Dave Aranda

jury still out but some coaches that are young that I like somewhat: PJ fleck, josh heupel and I honestly like Shane Beamer. I am also interested in seeing how Marcus Freeman does
 

4Q Basket Case

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I think whoever is the AD at the time will be a big factor.

Mal put the good ole boys in place to bring CNS in, however now...:rolleyes:
I get your point, but look at today’s version of the GOB network slightly differently.

I think Saban processed the Alabama fanbase every bit as much as he did the rest of the program.

At the time of Saban’s hiring, I was heavily involved in a large alumni chapter, the National Alumni Association, etc., etc. About 5 seconds after the plane touched down in Tuscaloosa, word came down: Don’t try to contact Saban directly. Don’t call his secretary. Don’t wait to “run into him” as he leaves the office.

If you want Nick Saban to play in your chapter’s golf tournament, or speak to your company’s sales meeting or your Kiwanis Club convention, or whatever other stuff you want him for, understand that the odds of getting him are slim. To raise your chances above zero, go through the National Alumni Association, and nowhere else. If you loop the NAA, you will (1) not get what you want, and (2) be forevermore be blackballed from any favors, no matter how small, from either the Athletic Department or the NAA.

This was a significant departure from previous coaches who, dating back at least to Bryant hosting pregame smokers at the Tutwiler Hotel in Birmingham, tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to balance GOB alumni requests and running the program.

And of course, it was inevitable that a few thought, “they don’t really mean me.”

It was a dope-slapping surprise when they found out that Saban, the Athletic Department and the NAA really did mean it. A bunch of guys used to being on the inside suddenly found themselves on the outside looking in, wearing long sad Deputy Dawg faces, wondering, “What the )*^*&^l just happened?”

Didn’t take long for the word to get around that he means it. Want Saban? Part of the cost is leaving him alone. This is an integral part of the deal. He has lots of options. At the time, the Alabama program had few to none.

Point of all that being, I don’t think the GOB network will have nearly the impact that it did prior to Saban. After 15 - 20 years of Saban, the ones in place now don’t have a history of that kind of contact, and the ones that once had it are aged out or in the dirt.

If the new coach — whoever he is and whenever he takes over — allows that sort of intrusion, that’s on him.
 
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selmaborntidefan

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Sadly, the way it's going there won't be much of a game left after he leaves.
And to a certain point, he is one largely responsible for many of the things driving non-Alabama fans away from the game. Granted - it couldn't have been done without others's meddling, but he has shown an incredible "think outside the box" mentality that not even Coach Bryant (as good as he was) can approach.

I have no particular favorite because I'm that guy who hates 90% of the possible replacements at the start. Saban is the ONLY coach we've hired that when we hired him was the guy I wanted. I thought Perkins was an NFL flash in the pan whose success was largely due to the expanded playoff and his luck in drafting Lawrence Taylor and trading for Rob Carpenter (and Philly collapsing in 1981 - they started the year 6-0 and ended 10-6). Curry was God playing a joke on the university for how we handled not hiring Bowden, Stallings I nearly lost my brain when we got him (and fact is the probation DID occur on his watch), DuBose struck me as a Pee-Wee Coach who played everybody and bought them ice cream after the game when they got blown out, Franchione looked like the guy at the library who helps you find books but isn't the librarian (the aide?), and Mike Shula struck me as nothing more than "we don't want the bad press we gonna get when we fired the black dude who loses a bunch of games because probation". If any of you want to say "the guy with the great memory forgot Mike Price," well, he needs to be forgotten, even by my standards of memory.

My choices (for better or worse)?
1982 - I was 13, all I knew was Perkins's success in the NFL was not "for real"
1987 - Bobby Bowden
1990 - Bobby Bowden
1996 - Steve Spurrier
2000 - Butch Davis (shows how little I actually know)
2002 - Tom Coughlin (ditto)
2003 - Mike Shula simply because I figured whoever got hired was just the person we were taking to the junior prom to have a date but weren't going to even consider him for the senior prom or marriage.
2006 - Saban
 
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Blueguitar

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Someone’s been reading his Jim Collins. The codicil to that rule of thumb in business is that the culture has to have fully become a manifestation of the Level 5 leader’s vision in this regard. So, the person taking over has to be literally plug and play because the culture is so strong that it will send out antibodies to kill anything inconsistent with it. If that’s the case with Alabama football (which actually means we need the entire athletic department, not just football, to be built in this mold), then yes, an internal hire irrespective of HC experience could theoretically succeed. The question is whether all the conditions precedent exist.



If the conditions precedent do not all exist, then I’m hard-pressed to disagree. However, other than Kiffin, if Greg Byrne had to make a hire RIGHT NOW, Mel Tucker probably is the best fit of any realistic candidate (ruling out Smart and Day) under these criteria:
  • Former Saban staffer - check
  • Been Sabanized - check
  • Success at a P5 school by the program’s standards - check (small sample size though)
  • Knows how to handle himself on camera - check check (see Gameday interview October 30, 2021)
  • Bonus - a black head coach at Alabama. Check check check

Two to five years from now, who knows? Sark, Napier, Curt Cignetti, hell Butch Jones; any of them might meet the criteria; but right now, it’s a universe of two…
I agree, if the decision had to be made tomorrow it would be between Mel Tucker and Lane Kiffin. (Kirby would be ahead of them on that list, but I don't see him leaving UGA). But four years ago it would have been a different short list, and four years from now it will likely be different again. Coaches rise and fall constantly. But thank God it won't be Dabo or Urban!
 

Ole Man Dan

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I agree, based on what we know now, Kiffin would be the logical choice. I think the good news is, CNS will likely be around 2-3 more years after this season so the names mentioned all have a couple of years to prove themselves. My maybe list, in no particular order would include. Sarkisian, Aranda, Napier, Shane Beamer, Mike Elko (1st year at Duke), and Cristobol.
Not a bad list. I would still add Kiffin, because he can coach, and he's not predictable. I know CLK has had a bad reputation, but he could be a strong enough candidate, if he can overcome his past.
Right now my lead candidates would maybe be Aranda, Sark and maybe Beamer.
 

81usaf92

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Just think what Dabo could do at Bama.
Yeah run it into the ground by letting all of the 92 guys become the new GOBs. Make us look more like the current version of Clemson when he starts to hire “yes men” as coordinators. We might as well hire Dennis Erickson if the only qualification is to have multiple national championships.

What Dabo achieved at Clemson is commendable, but it requires context. His rise was mostly due to a waning Spurrier led South Carolina, a FSU run on its last leg, and an in the wilderness Georgia program. Adding to that a Mickey Mouse schedule and an above average defensive coordinator. Dabo has spent his chips and is now back on the ROY bus if we are quoting him. Unless I have missed a few, Dabo only has two wins over teams that finished in the top 10 without Trevor or Deshaun (2014 Ohio St and 2017 Auburn).

Anyone who takes over after CNS will have 3-5 years of great teams, but the question is if that person can sustain that success. Dabo has yet to prove that. Yes we can say “look at 2015-2020) but what about who he played? Dabo right now looks more like an Ed Orgeron that got lucky twice and has played in a horrid conference. Hell Ed has actually been more impressive at playing against top 10 teams in tougher schedules than Dabo.

If Dabo comes I’ll still be a Bama fan but I’m going to be concerned about what comes after year 4. Dabo just feels like a lesser Ed orgeron hiding behind a schedule that Kentucky would dominate.
 

81usaf92

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It's the offseason, and I don't want to talk about white helmets or red pants.

So when that sad day comes and Nick Saban heads to Lake Burton, who do you think should be the next Alabama Head Coach?

There are no perfect options. Hard to believe it now, but even Saban wasn’t riskless when he was hired in 2007 – he had a reputation as being hard to deal with, and forever running to the next job. And there was that unfortunate incident where he said he wasn’t coming to Alabama, then did.

So who among a list of imperfect options would you choose?

Generally speaking, the best chance for continuing the success of a legend in any organization, not just a college football team, is to hire someone from within. Problem there is I don’t think anyone looks at any member of the current staff and says, “He’s the one.”

So the next best thing is someone who has been Sabanized at an earlier point, bought into The Process, and has proven he can execute it, having generated success on his own.

Only one name stands out to me, and that’s Lane Kiffin.

He’s an undeniably visionary offensive coach, a good recruiter, and coming around on the defensive side, at least enough to acknowledge that it’s a good idea not to give up 30+ points a game.

No, he’s not riskless. If he hasn’t matured out of the off-field shenanigans, he could embarrass us. And he still has a streak of smartass punk. Due diligence on his off-field behavior would be huge here.

Billy Napier is another possibility, though it’s too early to tell for sure yet. He took a struggling Louisiana Lafayette program and turned it into a Top 20 team in his third and fourth years…a promising beginning. But it’s not the SEC. We’ll have to see how he does at Florida.

In addition to alienating everyone he ever met, Jeremy Pruitt coached himself out of contention at UTe. Dabo is looking like he’s crashing and burning on a number of fronts. Jimbo Fisher is a good recruiter, but forever under-achieves his talent, and doesn’t win enough to overlook his grating personality.

I’m still not sold that Mario Cristobal’s success at Oregon wasn’t part Pac-12 weakness and part Nike money. Plus, I doubt he’d leave Miami. Similar with Lincoln Riley – not sure the source of a lot of his success wasn’t a weak Big 12 where defense is optional, and I don’t think he’d leave USCw. At least no time soon.

After Saban, the next best coaches in college football are Ryan Day and Kirby Smart, neither of whom do I think would leave their current gigs. Even though I acknowledge that they’re probably better coaches than Kiffin (certainly more proven), I don't think they're realistic options.

So I’m going with Kiffin. If due diligence discovers that he hasn’t changed his off-field behavior, just gotten better at concealing it, I’m going with Napier, fully understanding that he’s much more of a roll of the dice.

What say you? Disagree with Kiffin all you want, but if you do, please name somebody who would actually leave their current job, would be better than Kiffin, and why you think that.
let’s assume for argument sake that he retires after winning it all this year. You really have 3 groups.

Saban disciples: unless position coaches and never head coaches count then we are talking strictly HCs. I would say both Napier, Jimbo, and Kirby are out because of their current jobs being elite programs. Kiffin probably is the best available because of what he has done post Saban, but you have to wonder if he gets the Saban endorsement. So then it becomes a question on if you trust Mel Tucker and Bill O’Brien. Out of the two BoB probably would be the pick based on the current familiarity to the program and his time at PSU. But Mel has done a very good job so far. I think Locks and Pruitt are non starters. So I would probably say 1) BoB 2) Kiffin 3) Mel in likelihood.

2) Proven Establishment- Dabo is the obvious front runner in this category but not for the reasons people think. I just don’t see Day leaving Ohio St for Bama… it’s too much of a lateral move and he is too entrenched in recruiting there. Urban isn’t coming to Alabama and shouldn’t. So Dabo might want to come back just to coach at his alma mater but I seriously have my doubts.

3) Up and comers- This is the riskiest group. I would say you really have to start with Aranda and Fickle and then move onto to guys like Stoops and Pittman. But you fear that you are making a mistake with Pittman because of style. So I would say Aranda and Fickle lead the ranks here.

But ultimately I think CNS will go for 3-4 more years and the guy that takes it will not be on anyone’s list here.
 
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4Q Basket Case

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let’s assume for argument sake that he retires after winning it all this year. You really have 3 groups.

Saban disciples: unless position coaches and never head coaches count then we are talking strictly HCs. I would say both Napier, Jimbo, and Kirby are out because of their current jobs being elite programs. Kiffin probably is the best available because of what he has done post Saban, but you have to wonder if he gets the Saban endorsement. So then it becomes a question on if you trust Mel Tucker and Bill O’Brien. Out of the two BoB probably would be the pick based on the current familiarity to the program and his time at PSU. But Mel has done a very good job so far. I think Locks and Pruitt are non starters. So I would probably say 1) BoB 2) Kiffin 3) Mel in likelihood.

2) Proven Establishment- Dabo is the obvious front runner in this category but not for the reasons people think. I just don’t see Day leaving Ohio St for Bama… it’s too much of a lateral move and he is too entrenched in recruiting there. Urban isn’t coming to Alabama and shouldn’t. So Dabo might want to come back just to coach at his alma mater but I seriously have my doubts.

3) Up and comers- This is the riskiest group. I would say you really have to start with Aranda and Fickle and then move onto to guys like Stoops and Pittman. But you fear that you are making a mistake with Pittman because of style. So I would say Aranda and Fickle lead the ranks here.

But ultimately I think CNS will go for 3-4 more years and the guy that takes it will not be on anyone’s list here.
Good list and logic. I do think, if Saban stays another 2-3 years, and Napier does well at Florida, that Napier would be a candidate. The Alabama job post-Saban is better than the Florida job post-Mullen.

Note: Napier will probably struggle in the W-L category for at least a year and a half. Mullen left the cupboard bare, and they lost some guys in the portal. He will have to rebuild, not from the foundation, but from bare earth up. So the definition of “doing well” will likely have to be based on momentum, not the full history.
 

4Q Basket Case

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Just 1 question. Please explain to me HOW Ryan Day is a better football Coach than Lane Kiffin?
A lot of it is stability and having actually won some stuff worth winning, whereas Kiffin has yet to win a title bigger than the conference that Florida Atlantic is in. Kiffin’s also been fired three times — the Raiders, USCw, and in the middle of the CFB playoff as Alabama’s OC — and left UTe in the middle of the night.

Day picked up the pieces after an ignominious end to the Meyer era, and has maintained the momentum at tOSU, with no dropoff in the W-L record from the Meyer years whatsoever. He recruits really well, and values both sides of the ball equally.

And don’t underestimate the importance of a firm grasp of the profile of the HC at a truly elite program. Day understands full well that he has no privacy, except maybe between the four walls, floor and ceiling of his own home. And then only if the curtains are closed. I don’t think you’ll ever see Ryan Day showing his hindquarters publicly.

The two biggest questions about Kiffin‘s suitability for the HC position in Tuscaloosa are whether he can keep his personal life out of the papers, and whether his teams can play defense.

Day may not have Kiffin’s offensive mind. But who does? After all, the greatest college football coach of all time brought in Kiffin specifically to re-tool an offense he (the GOAT himself) couldn’t. That doesn’t mean Day isn’t still pretty dang good.

Regardless, technical proficiency, while a necessary part of the skill set, is nowhere near the only area of expertise that the HC of a Top 5 program needs. Day has proven he has all the requisite skills.

Kiffin hasn’t done that yet, and needs to prove that previous indiscretions and smartass punk behavior are truly in the past.
 
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crimsonaudio

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First, Kiffin hasn't shown he can handle a program at all. Not once. Maybe in time, but there's a lot of very public immaturity that has to be overcome before I think he deserves consideration.

Out of the rest of the current field my preference would be Aranda. I think he has the right mindset and upside to be great, and he's already very good.

I doubt any name in CFB is 'off the market' when Bama comes calling - at this point even a 'meh' HC could take over and have all the pieces in place to win a title (see Coach Waterhead @ LSU).

All that said, I hate the premise of this thread. :)
 

DzynKingRTR

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First, Kiffin hasn't shown he can handle a program at all. Not once. Maybe in time, but there's a lot of very public immaturity that has to be overcome before I think he deserves consideration.

Out of the rest of the current field my preference would be Aranda. I think he has the right mindset and upside to be great, and he's already very good.

I doubt any name in CFB is 'off the market' when Bama comes calling - at this point even a 'meh' HC could take over and have all the pieces in place to win a title (see Coach Waterhead @ LSU).

All that said, I hate the premise of this thread. :)
Almost every coach starting with Xen Scott has had at least one 10 win season. Pretty sure the next guy will be able to do that too. Unless he is JB Whitworth bad.
 
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