Alabama Team News

Who’s in, who’s out: A look at Alabama’s staff changes from 2016 to 2017

Nick Saban
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Every school has coaching turnover each year, and not even powerhouse Alabama was immune this offseason.

On top of losing two assistants and two offensive coordinators since the start of 2017, the Crimson Tide has lost off-field support staffers as well.

Based on recent history, it seems unlikely the staff changes will bring about any drastic downturn in performance for the Crimson Tide this season. As long as Nick Saban remains, it’s hard to doubt Alabama.

Still, it’s worth noting the changes all the same, especially when it’s an elite program such as the Crimson Tide.

With the coaching carousel likely having halted, let’s take a look at the staff Alabama had during the 2016 season and what it will have in 2017.

2016 Alabama coaching staff

Coach: Nick Saban
The skinny: In Saban’s 10th season at Alabama, the Crimson Tide came up one second short of winning his fifth national championship at the school. Overall, the Tide went 14-1 and won the SEC championship for a fifth time.

Offensive coordinator No. 1: Lane Kiffin
The skinny: Kiffin lasted (almost) three full seasons, which was surprising in itself as most thought he would leave before then. But he also had a lot of success coaching the Alabama offense. In addition to his role as offensive coordinator, he also was the quarterbacks coach.
Where did he go? Florida Atlantic coach

Offensive coordinator No. 2: Steve Sarkisian
The skinny: Sarkisian was hired as an offensive analyst in September and served in that position until Kiffin – who had already taken the FAU job but was finishing out the season with Alabama – was relieved of his duties a week before the national championship game in January. Sarkisianalready had been named as Kiffin’s replacement for the 2017 season before that. Like Kiffin, he also was the quarterbacks coach.
Where did he go? Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator

Defensive coordinator: Jeremy Pruitt
The skinny: Pruitt was in his first season as defensive coordinator after previously serving on the Crimson Tide staff in either an off-field or on-field role from 2007-12. He also coached the inside linebackers.

Running backs coach: Burton Burns
The skinny: Burns was in his 10th season as running backs coach – as well as associate head coach – and helped field another potent rushing attack with a strong running backs corps. After defensive coordinator Kirby Smart left following the 2015 season, Burns became the last remaining original assistant from Saban’s 2007 staff. He also served as special teams coordinator.

Wide receivers coach: Billy Napier
The skinny: Napier was in his fourth season as wide receivers coach. During his time with the Crimson Tide, he served as the position coach receivers such as Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley and ArDarius Stewart.
Where did he go? Arizona State offensive coordinator

Tight ends/offensive tackles coach: Mario Cristobal
The skinny: Cristobal was in fourth season as a Tide assistant. He was the offensive line coach for three years before having his duties changed to tight ends and offensive tackles this past season. His role change came after Brent Key was hired to coach the interior offensive line.
Where did he go? Oregon co-offensive coordinator/run game coordinator/offensive line coach

Interior offensive line coach: Brent Key
The skinny: Key was in his first season as an assistant after previously serving as an assistant at UCF under George O’Leary from 2004-15. Hired in February 2016, his duties had him focus on guards and centers.

RELATED: Recalling each of Nick Saban’s 5-star offensive recruits at Alabama

Secondary coach: Derrick Ansley
The skinny: Ansley was in his first season with the Tide. A graduate assistant at Alabama in 2010 and ’11, he served as secondary coach at Tennessee (2012) and Kentucky (2013-15) before rejoining the Crimson Tide staff as an on-field assistant in February 2016.

Outside linebackers coach: Tosh Lupoi
The skinny: Lupoi was in his second season as outside linebackers coach, and he also gained the title of co-coordinator. He was an analyst on the staff in 2014 after previously spending time as an assistant at California and Washington.

Defensive line coach: Karl Dunbar
The skinny: Dunbar was in his first season with the Tide. He was hired in May 2016 after Bo Davis was forced to resign after six combined seasons across two stints (2007-10 and 2014-15) because of alleged recruiting violations.

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