Alabama names Kalen DeBoer as next head football coach

The University of Alabama has named Kalen DeBoer, head coach at the University of Washington, as its next head football coach, the school announced Friday.

DeBoer succeeds the retiring Nick Saban, who announced his retirement Wednesday after a 17-year tenure at Alabama, where he won six national championships and 11 Southeastern Conference titles.

DeBoer has been the head coach at Washington for the past two seasons, where he led the Huskies to the national championship game this week, following two seasons at the helm of the Fresno State Bulldogs. In four years as a Division I head coach, DeBoer amassed a 37-9 record.

“We are disappointed that [DeBoer] chose to leave, but he has left us a strong foundation to build on, both on and off the field, and we wish him the best of luck at Alabama,” President of the University of Washington Ana Mari Cauce said in a statement.

Prior to his stints as head coach at the University of Washington and Fresno State, DeBoer spent five seasons as the head coach of his alma mater, the University of Sioux Falls, in South Dakota, where he led the football program to a 67-3 record and three NAIA national titles from 2005-09, while earning three national coach of the year awards.

“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. My family and I feel truly blessed and look forward to becoming a part of the Tuscaloosa community.”

“Coach DeBoer has proven he is a winner and has done an incredible job as a head coach at each of his stops,” said Director of Athletics Greg Byrne.

“One of the things I told our team the other day is we are going to get someone who is not only a great coach with the Xs and Os, but also someone who cares about his players and someone I’d want my sons to play for, just like I would have wanted them to play for Coach Saban. We got that in Coach DeBoer.”

In a statement Friday, Saban hailed DeBoer as an “outstanding choice” for Alabama, calling him “one of the brightest football minds.”

Alabama will hold a news conference Saturday at 1 p.m. ET to formally introduce DeBoer.

CNN’s Kevin Dotson contributed to this report.

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