TUSCALOOSA — Alabama’s annual assistant coach overhaul has begun.
A year after Nick Saban replaced six assistant coaches, the Crimson Tide’s veteran head coach could be in for another offseason of new hires after two offensive assistants left for other opportunities Thursday.
Alabama co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach Josh Gattis, who was hired less than a year ago away from Penn State, left to return to the Big Ten as Michigan’s new offensive coordinator and play caller under Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Also making a move is Tide offensive line coach Brent Key, who is returning to his alma mater Georgia Tech, after three years in Tuscaloosa, as the Yellow Jackets’ assistant head coach, run-game coordinator and offensive Iine coach under new head coach Geoff Collins. Collins and Key previously worked together at Central Florida from 2008-09, after Collins served as Alabama’s director of player personnel in 2007. Key was an offensive lineman at Georgia Tech from 1997-2000.
“I think it’s huge being able to learn from coach Saban the last couple of years, be a part of that program and bring that knowledge here to Georgia Tech in a place that he loves,” Collins said of Key, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Gattis and Key follow outgoing CrimsonTide offensive coordinator and new Maryland head coach Mike Locksley out the door, but might not be the only staff departures in the coming days.
Gattis had long been rumored to be an option to join Locksley as the Terrapins’ offensive coordinator, and reportedly already agreed to the position before changing course at the last minute and joining Michigan’s staff.
“It is an honor and a privilege to join the University of Michigan football family under Coach Harbaugh, one of the most successful head coaches in all of football,” Gattis said in a statement announcing his hiring at Michigan. “I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to serve as your offensive coordinator. This is the leadership challenge I’ve coveted. The football tradition at the University of Michigan is among the very best in college athletics. My family and I couldn’t be more excited to arrive in Ann Arbor.”
Alabama’s coaching overhaul could just be beginning, and could involve members of its defensive staff following Alabama’s disappointing 44-16 loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Santa Clara, Calif.