New Coaches: We had a couple of big hires over the past few weeks. They mean a lot to football fans around here.
Tallassee hired L.A. O'Neal and Alabama hired Kalen DeBoer. They're on different levels, but it's been a while since there has been a change with either program.
Nick Saban stayed well beyond what anyone could have anticipated when he was brought in 17 years ago. Still, it caught many (including me) by surprise when he called it a career.
On the high school side, Mike Battles did what no other coach has done since J.E. "Hot" O'Brien. He went 12 seasons. There have been 13 different coaches since O'Brien, some who had two different stints.
That averages out to about one every five years. 12 years, as done by Battles, is very rare in this day of 'instant gratification' as is 17, as done by Saban.
I think both THS and Bama made good picks, but we won't know for sure until we're years down the road.
Back to the instant gratification thing... hopefully each will get the chance to prove themselves. Prior to Battles, the longest run of any coach over the previous 20 years was five years.
Woody Weaver coached seven seasons and came back for an eighth after an early retirement. Ronnie Baynes had the longest tenure prior to that. Baynes, known for baseball championships, coached eight years on the gridiron.
At Alabama, though the chatter has been that fans can not be satisfied, Mike Shula and Mike DuBose each got four years. That's more time than many programs are allowing these days.
There is also the sentiment, 'Who wants to follow Saban?' It beats following Shula. Saban didn't leave the cupboard bare - although the transfer portal is doing its part to make it that way.
DeBoer has a terrific head coaching record (104-12). Keep in mind that some of it did come at at Sioux Falls. Even his work at Washington in two years doesn't quite stack up to coaching in the SEC. And this will be the newer nad even tougher SEC.
DeBoer did reach the CFP title game last season which can't be ignored. His success will depend greatly on his ability to recruit versus guys like Kirby Smart, Steve Sarkisian and Lane Kiffn.
Back to O'Neal, you can't beat his resume either. He put on quite an audition in the playoffs last season. He took Booker T. Washington to new heights. While, we'd heard for years that there was potential there, it had not come to fruition until O'Neal came on board.
O'Neal has the background, as the son of a championship coach. He has been a part state championships as a coach and player.
Another parallel of prep level success as with college, you're only as good as what you can put on the field. O'Neal talked about getting the very best players. That recruiting will include those walking the halls now that don't play.
It's going to be fun to watch as we start at square one again. Transitions bring excitement. We all can't wait for August.