Skip to main content

Nick Saban effect: How college football changed with Saban’s retirement

Nick Saban
Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA TODAY NETWORK

Ever since Nick Saban shockingly decided to retire a week after the College Football Playoff, a domino effect has been happening in the coaching world.

To replace Saban, Alabama moved quickly to get his replacement Kalen DeBoer from Washington. That was just the beginning of several moves that ended up with a former head coach who ran an outdated offense being hired to a job where he is planning to run a wide-open offense.

Let’s see how things have shaken up.

Related: List of all the players who have left Alabama after Nick Saban retired

Nick Saban retirement sets off domino effect in coaching world

Kalen DeBoer, Washington coach hired at Alabama

Syndication: Tuscaloosa News
Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Ryan Grubb, Washington offensive coordinator hired as Alabama offensive coordinator
  • Kane Wommack, South Alabama head coach hired as Alabama defensive coordinator
  • Maurice Linguist, Buffalo head coach hired as Alabama defensive backs coach
  • JaMarcus Shephard, Washington receivers coach hired as Alabama receivers coach
  • Scott Huff, Washington offensive line coach hired as Alabama offensive line coach
  • Nick Sheridan, Washington tight ends coach hired as Alabama tight ends coach

Related: TV statistics show most popular college football teams in America

Jedd Fisch, Arizona coach hired at Washington

NCAA Football: Alamo Bowl-Arizona at Oklahoma
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
  • Brennan Carroll, Arizona offensive coordinator hired as Washington offensive coordinator
  • Jimmy Dougherty, Arizona quarterbacks coach hired as Washington quarterbacks coach
  • Scottie Graham, Arizona running backs coach hired as Washington running backs coach
  • Kevin Cummings, Arizona wide receivers coach hired as Washington wide receivers coach
  • Jordan Paopao, Arizona tight ends coach hired as Washington tight ends coach
  • John Richardson, Arizona cornerbacks coach hired as Washington cornerbacks coach
  • Jason Kaufusi, Arizona OLB/DE coach hired as Washington OLB/DE coach

Related: Who are the best quarterbacks for 2024?

Brent Brennan, San Jose State coach hired at Arizona

NCAA Football: San Jose State at Southern California
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Ken Niumatalolo, former Navy coach hired at San Jose State

NCAA Football: Navy at East Carolina
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Major Applewhite, offensive coordinator at South Alabama, hired as coach at South Alabama

NCAA Football: Houston at East Carolina
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Pete Lembo, special teams coordinator at South Carolina, hired as coach at Buffalo

NCAA Football: Ball State at Army
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

What should we expect with these changes because of Nick Saban?

nick saban
Clayton Freeman/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK

There will certainly be a lot of new in college football next season. With Nick Saban gone, does Alabama become just another SEC team or will it stay at the top of the heap?

DeBoer has been a successful coach everywhere he has been, but he will get his first taste of recruiting in the cut-throat Southeastern Conference. How he holds up there will tell the tale.

Related: Check out our 2024 college football Top 25

Jedd Fisch did lead Arizona to its best record in years and had a positive outlook going forward. Still, there are some question marks. A few of his decisions were questioned, and he didn’t play quarterback Noah Fifita until his starter was injured and Fifita threw for 2,869 yards and 25 touchdowns in nine games. Washington had established itself as a major power, so this was a big hire.

Brent Brennan almost got the Arizona job before Fisch, so it seemed like a logical choice to give him a shot. Still, something about the decision or Fisch’s decision to leave apparently was questionable, and athletics director Dave Heeke lost his job right after the hire.

Ken Niumatalolo is a name that is familiar. He was at Navy for 16 years, running the triple-option and compiling a record of 109-83. At San Jose State, Niumatalolo has said he plans to hire young assistants who want to run a wide-open style of football. The goal will be to keep some California players at home.

Pete Lembo was the special teams coach at South Carolina, but he has been a head coach before at Lehigh, Elon, and Ball State. His record is 112–65. He has signed a five-year contract at Buffalo, a sign that he has the time to rebuild the program.

More About: