A Bold Prediction for Kalen DeBoer and the Alabama Crimson Tide

Check out a bold prediction that after the 2025 season, Kalen DeBoer will have led the Alabama Crimson Tide to its best 'turnaround' in over 90 seasons.
Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA

College football summers are ripe for suppositions, as in claims made without any verifiable proof. So, I have a BOLD prediction for Kalen DeBoer and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Riding a current swell of Alabama Crimson Tide enthusiasm, I boldly predict that after the 2025 college football season, Kalen DeBoer will be Alabama Football's greatest turnaround coach in 90-plus seasons.

The term 'turnaround' is used loosely in making the prediction. A more accurate definition would be 'the greatest coaching transition' from a preceding coach to a new coach. Using 'turnaround' provides more sizzle for the claim. Sizzle, aside, the prediction is a serious one. I am filled with Alabama Crimson Tide optimism about the Kalen DeBoer 'turnaround'.

Alabama Football Head Coach Turnarounds

Going back to when Wallace Wade bolted for Duke and was replaced by Frank Thomas, the first two seasons for new Alabama Crimson Tide coaches are listed below. The records are based on winning percentage and are listed from best to worst.

  • Frank Thomas - In the 1931 season, Thomas replaced Wade., whose last Alabama team was 10-0. In 1931 and 1932 Thomas' teams were 17-3 - 85%
  • Gene Stallings - Bill Curry left Tuscaloosa after a 10-2, 1989 season. In the 1990 and 1991 seasons, Stallings' teams posted an 18-6 record - 75%. The record is even more impressive given that Stallings began his tenure as the Alabama head coach with three losses.
  • Nick Saban - Alabama limped to a 6-7 record under Mike Shula in 2006. Nick Saban's 2007 season was only slightly better at 7-6. A 12-2, 2008 record pushed Saban's first two Crimson Tide seasons to 19-8 - 70.4%.
  • Dennis Franchione - It was not hard for Franchione to improve on Mike Dubose's 3-8 record in 2000. Before Franchione let go of the rope he asked his players to hold (after probation), his two Alabama seasons were 17-8 - 68%.
  • Bill Curry - After a 10-3, 1986 season, Ray Perkins returned to the NFL. Many Alabama fans doubted a Georgia Tech coach was an adequate replacement. Curry's first two Alabama teams were 16-8 - 66.7%.
  • Red Drew - Because of poor health, Frank Thomas retired from football after a 7-4, 1946 season. In 1947 and 1948, Drew's record was 14-7-1 - 65.9%.
  • Paul 'Bear' Bryant - No Alabama head coach inherited a bigger mess than Bryant did in 1958. Ears Whitworth coached the Crimson Tide to a 2-7-1 record in 1957. His three-season Alabama head coaching record was 4-24-2. Bryant's 1958 and 1959 teams were 12-6-3 - 64.3%.
  • Ray Perkins - Following Bryant was a bigger challenge for Perkins than what Kalen DeBoer faces succeeding Nick Saban. The program left by Saban is far more solid than Alabama was after the 1982 season. Bryant's last Alabama team was 8-2. In 1983 and 1984, Perkins led the Crimson Tide to a 13-10 record - 56.5%.
  • Mike Dubose - The details are too many to recount, but foolish men created an untenable situation for Gene Stallings. As successor, Mike Dubose was unfit for the challenge. Stallings coached the 1996 team to a 10-3 record. Dubose followed in 1997 and 1998 with an 11-12 record - 47.8%.
  • Mike Shula - After the Mike Price debacle, Mike Shula gamely tried to revive the Crimson Tide. Under Franchione, Alabama was 10-3 in 2002. Mike Shula's first two seasons, in 2003 and 2004, the Crimson Tide was 10-15 - 40%. Shula's tough situation can be traced back to the 1996 departure of Gene Stallings. Mike Shula had little chance to succeed.

Kalen DeBoer Bold Prediction

Alabama Football will not struggle in Kalen DeBoer's first two Crimson Tide seasons. DeBoer and Nick Saban will deserve credit for how well Alabama does in its current transition. DeBoer's 2024 and 2025 seasons might not equal the 85% standard set by Frank Thomas in 1931 and 1932. But even if Alabama posts back-to-back 11-3 seasons in 2024 and 2025 (78.6%), the DeBoer transition will be the best for Alabama in over 90 seasons. And my hunch is it will be even better.

Note: Coaching records provided by Sports Reference.

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