NFL coaching veteran Brian Daboll was named Alabama‘s offensive coordinator on Monday.
Daboll spent the past three seasons as the New England Patriots‘ tight ends coach. He becomes Alabama’s fifth offensive coordinator since the conclusion of the 2011 season, when Jim McElwain left to become Colorado State’s head coach.
Brian Daboll spent 17 seasons in the NFL, the past three as the Patriots’ TE coach. He was a graduate assistant at Michigan State for two years when Nick Saban was the Spartans’ head coach. AP Photo/Elise Amendola
“We are certainly happy to add a coach the caliber of Brian Daboll to our staff,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said in a statement. “I have known Brian since he worked for us as a GA [graduate assistant] at Michigan State and he has a fantastic reputation in the coaching profession.
“He brings a tremendous work ethic to the job and has a wealth of football knowledge. Brian is a great teacher of the game, and someone who can relate well to our players. We are excited to welcome Brian, his wife Beth and their family to Tuscaloosa.”
Daboll will replace Steve Sarkisian, whose only game as the Crimson Tide offensive coordinator was the College Football Playoff National Championship loss to Clemson. Sarkisian, the former USC head coach, left earlier this month to be the Atlanta Falcons‘ offensive coordinator.
“I am honored to have the chance to return to the college game and work for Coach Saban at Alabama,” Daboll said in the Alabama statement. “He basically gave me my start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Michigan State in the late 1990s and has always been a very important influence on my coaching career.
“It is a tremendous opportunity to work at an institution such as Alabama with its rich tradition and history of sustained success, and I’m very excited to get started.”
Saban had interviewed both Daboll and former Houston Texans offensive coordinator George Godsey in the past few weeks. Alabama co-offensive coordinator Mike Locksley also was a candidate for the job after being promoted from an offensive analyst role.
Daboll, 41, has spent 17 seasons in the NFL, the past four with the Patriots. He was thought to be the heir apparent to Josh McDaniels as the team’s offensive coordinator.
Daboll has served two different stints in New England, both under Bill Belichick, and has been an offensive coordinator for three different teams in the NFL. He was the Kansas City Chiefs‘ offensive coordinator in 2012 after spending the 2011 season in that role for the Miami Dolphins. He spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons as the Cleveland Browns‘ offensive coordinator, and before that he was the New York Jets‘ quarterbacks coach in 2007 and 2008.
Saban and Belichick have deep ties going back to the early 1980s, when Saban worked on the Navy staff alongside Belichick’s father, Steve. Daboll’s graduate assistant stint at Michigan State was in 1998 and 1999, when Saban was the Spartans’ head coach.
At the top of Daboll’s to-do list will be grooming Alabama’s young quarterbacks. Last season, Jalen Hurts was the first true freshman to start at quarterback in Saban’s career. Hurts was 13-1 as a starter and was named the AP’s SEC Offensive Player of the Year.
But freshman Tua Tagovailoa of Hawaii will push Hurts this spring. An early enrollee, Tagovailoa (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) was ranked by ESPN as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback prospect in the country.