Lane Kiffin describes Nick Saban's 'rehab' coaches clinic as better than an NFL job
There are a few college football head coaches who have seen their public perception improve as they worked at Alabama for a few years. Steve Sarkisian, Mike Locksley and Lane Kiffin are among them.
“It was perfect,” Kiffin told Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports of his three seasons as Alabama offensive coordinator (2014-16). “There wouldn’t have been a better job in the NFL. I say (it’s) the ‘rehab’ stamp. You go there, spend some time, all the sudden you can coach again.”
Dodd recalled that five former college head coaches have cycled through Alabama’s system over the last eight years, coming out on the other side second chances they were unlikely to have otherwise received. In the case of Sarkisian and Kiffin, now at Texas and Ole Miss, it was third chances at being a head coach on this level.
The unique atmosphere is also noticed by recruits, and their parents.
“You replace the best play caller in college football (Sarkisian) with a former NFL head coach and general manager,” said Craig Young, the father of current Tide quarterback Bryce Young. “Only at Alabama could they do something like that.”
“Take the competitive piece out,” said former offensive coordinator Jim McElwain (2008-11), referring to the mentoring aspect. “He’s really good for a lot of people.”
One of the most amazing parts of the Alabama staff is the constant turnover even as the program sees such consistent success.
For example, defensive coordinator Pete Golding is the only member of the 2018 coaching staff still around. In fact, there have been 47 assistant coaches pass through Alabama since Saban took over in 2007, an average of more than three coaching changes per year. The 2018 and 2019 staffs had the most turnover with five new assistants in each season.