Over his career at Alabama, Nick Saban has done a phenomenal job with hiring assistant coaches despite the heavy turnover, but to take his success to the next level, he has to do an excellent job hiring staff members.
With the NCAA limiting the number of assistant coaches a team can have to 10, the staff members play a huge role in the success of a football program. This spring, Saban added a couple of new staff members that have been good additions to the program, and he was asked about them this week during a press conference.
"He's got a lot of good experience,” Saban said of Ken Whisenhunt, who he hired as a special assistant. “He's a really good coach. You know, he's been a head coach, he's been an offensive coordinator in the NFL for a long time. I just thought it'd be a great complement to our staff. He's been in a similar role at Penn State for two years, so he's really learned the college game. He's a good guy. I think that everybody has a lot of respect for him, and I think his energy, his enthusiasm, his ideas have been very helpful to us."
Whisenhunt brings years of experience, and his NFL offensive coordinator background will provide an extra brain for new offensive coordinator Tommy Rees to pick.
The second new staff addition that Saban praised this week is a more familiar name to Alabama fans in HaHa Clinton-Dix. Clinton-Dix is a former Alabama back-to-back national championship-winning safety from 2011-2013, who was named an All-American in his final year for the Crimson Tide. After leaving Alabama he had a seven-year NFL career before retiring in December and later being hired by Alabama in February as a player development coach.
“HaHa is a player development coach,” Saban said when asked about the role of Clinton-Dix. “They coach the players in everything but football. HaHa has great character, great person, sets a really good example, really good leadership. Players migrate to him. He gives them great advice and direction in the things they can do to help them accomplish their goals. He just does a fantastic job for us and appreciate the fact he wants to be here and it always makes me happy when we have guys who played here, had great careers in the NFL, made the Pro Bowl, and want to be a part of the program. So we welcome him and he’s done a fantastic job for us.”
The player development coach role is a perfect job for someone like Clinton-Dix who knows what it’s like to be a player at Alabama under Nick Saban, as well as the NFL experience that he can provide for those players that have their hopes set on pursuing their career in the NFL after Alabama.
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