3 months ago

Who’s next in Bama’s line of succession?

The Alabama Crimson Tide start a new decade under head coach Nick Saban when they take the field to play Michigan in the Citrus Bowl on Wednesday. For the Tide, the previous 10 years amount to one of the greatest runs in the history of college football.

Saban will be gunning for his 157th overall win at the helm in Tuscaloosa. That is averaging more than 12 wins per season to go along with five national championships in the toughest version of the SEC in its storied existence.

The turn of the calendar to 2020 got us thinking: who will be leading the Tide at the conclusion of the next decade?

It is not out of the realm of possibility that Saban is coaching the Tide in 2029. His energy and will to succeed has never diminished at any point in his tenure. It is doubtful those traits will change.

If he were to retire in the 2020s, who’s next in the line of succession? Saban has built a kingdom so close to perfect that it is tantalizing to ponder who might eventually get handed the keys.

We look at some potential coaches-in-waiting using three criteria: record of success, availability and fit. “Availability” might be the toughest one for Tide fans to wrap their minds around. It goes something like this: Bill Belichick is not leaving the Patriots to coach at Alabama. Neither is a head coach at Ohio State, USC or Texas.

“Fit” considers culture or some previous connection to the university or Saban.

Let’s dive in.

DABO SWINNEY

Record of success: Swinney has won national championships two out of the last three years and has appeared in the final game four out of the last five years. Check.

Availability: Timing may be everything here. Swinney has two sons currently on the roster at Clemson with a third on the way. As someone who has emphasized family throughout his career, it would be difficult to see him leaving them behind. The further Saban coaches into the decade, the less availability becomes an issue for Swinney.

Fit: #NeverDabo has become a popular meme on social media in recent years among Tide faithful. This seems to be a reaction to a style which is markedly different than that which has brought Saban unprecedented success. Nevertheless, the connections to the program run deep. Swinney bled Crimson from an early age growing up in Pelham. He was a member of the 1992 national championship team, and he was a position coach under Gene Stallings and Mike Dubose.

Bottom line: Swinney has to be the first call. It seems more likely, though, that he is the guy who replaces the guy who replaced the legend.

MARIO CRISTOBAL

Record of success: Cristobal now has two years under his belt as head coach for the Oregon Ducks, and things continue to trend upward. His team went 11-2 this year while claiming the PAC-12 championship. He has recruited notable upgrades in talent during that time, as well.

Availability: With roots in the Southeast, it would be tough to see him remaining anchored in the Northwest should an opportunity in Tuscaloosa open up for him.

Fit: Cristobal spent four seasons as Saban’s offensive line coach at Alabama. He has also sought to emulate Saban’s style in the Oregon program with a more physical brand of football, particularly along the line of scrimmage. Cristobal has held tight to his Tide lineage to the point that he has testimonials from Saban and three former Alabama players on his Oregon Ducks biography page.

Bottom line: Should his success continue, Cristobal may very well edge his way to the front of the line of succession.

JOSH MCDANIELS

Record of success: McDaniels has spent 11 seasons as offensive coordinator in the midst of the New England Patriots’ run to six Super Bowl titles. He had a brief stint as head coach of the Denver Broncos in the middle. He is regarded as Tom Brady’s favorite position coach. The football credentials are there with McDaniels.

Availability: There has long been speculation that McDaniels is hanging around to succeed Belichick in New England. Another line of thinking has McDaniels accepting an NFL head coaching gig within the next few weeks. It’s tough to know what his availability and interest in the Alabama job would look like a few (or several) years from now.

Fit: McDaniels is a Belichick disciple. And after watching HBO’s “The Art of Coaching” documentary featuring Belichick and Saban, it is hard not to think McDaniels would pattern a program based on what he has learned as part of that coaching tree. McDaniels also served one year as a graduate assistant for Saban at Michigan State.

Bottom line: Saban has transformed the Crimson Tide program into one that has the look and feel of an NFL team. McDaniels could provide some continuity to that approach. Even though he would be an instantly credible choice and bring stature befitting the job, McDaniels has never shown outward interest in the college game.

BILLY NAPIER

Record of success: Trending up. In his second season as head coach of the Louisian Ragin’ Cajuns, Napier led the program to a 10-3 season and a runner-up finish in the Sun Belt. This after a 7-7 finish in his first season.

Availability: Look for Napier to quickly climb the coaching ladder. A Power 5 conference job should be in the mix for him in the first half of the decade. From there, who knows.

Fit: This would be a really good fit. Napier was an assistant coach on Alabama’s 2011 and 2015 national championship teams. In all, he spent five seasons on the staff in Tuscaloosa. Not only that, his demeanor, work ethic, organizational skills and recruiting prowess are all cut from the Saban mold.

Bottom line: Napier is not going from Louisiana to Alabama. However, with several more years likely left in the Saban administration, he should be in a position by then to be in the mix for a big job like this. If you are looking for the best longshot bet to become the next head coach at Alabama, put something down on Napier — and find a safe place to keep the ticket.

LANE KIFFIN

Record of success: Kiffin can coach some offense. The jury is still out on him as a head coach. For all the hype surrounding the Lane Train, he has only recorded one season with double-digit wins. His head coaching record is 66-49 (61-34 in college). Yet, it feels like his record does not come close to telling the whole story.

Availability: Something tells us Kiffin is always available.

Fit: Alabama fans undoubtedly look fondly upon the success of the 2015 offense and the resulting national championship. He is also a relentless recruiter. But there is a lot of other stuff. Whether it is a burner social media account under the name “Joey Freshwater” or constant needling of opponents and conference officials, his act does not come without risk.

Bottom line: Things would really have to hit the fan in Tuscaloosa for Lane Kiffin to get hired as head coach.

MATT RHULE

Record of success: Rhule is one of college football’s hottest commodities for good reason. He took over a Baylor program that was a disaster and led them to an 11-2 record and a date with Georgia in the Sugar Bowl in only his third season. Previous to Baylor, Rhule led Temple to back-to-back 10-win seasons.

Availability: His name is frequently placed on lists of potential NFL hires. Maybe he sees an NFL job in his future. It is also possible he continues to build at Baylor. A devout Christian, Rhule has spoken often about how he and his wife felt called to be part of Baylor University, one of the largest Baptist-affiliated colleges in the nation. As the next decade moves along, it will be interesting to watch how open Rhule is to new opportunities.

Fit: Rhule is a driven individual and top-shelf coach. He will thrive wherever he ultimately lands.

Bottom line: If he is gettable in whatever year the job comes open, Rhule would be worthy of an offer which will close the deal.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

1 min ago

Merrill: Alabama’s ‘greatest champion and favorite son’ Richard Shelby delivers once again

Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill on Wednesday released a statement praising U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby’s role (R-AL) in the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) stimulus package passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald J. Trump.

Merrill also touted the overall leadership being provided to the nation by Trump, as well the work Governor Kay Ivey is doing for the Yellowhammer State.

Shelby is Alabama’s longest serving senator, and his accomplishments for his home state are well recognized by political observers. Merrill outlined that the COVID-19 stimulus package is merely the latest example of Shelby delivering for his fellow Alabamians.

“Our state is incredibly lucky to have leaders who are willing to step up to the plate and go to bat for Alabama, which is precisely what Senator Shelby has done,” Merrill stated.

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“The historic coronavirus relief package recently appropriated to the states would not have been possible without the leadership and guidance of Senator Shelby,” he continued. “How do I know this? I know this to be true because those words came straight from Senator Mitch McConnell and his team. When liberal extremists pushed their agenda, Senator Shelby drew a line in the sand and said, ‘no farther!’”

There were reports that Democrats were trying to insert provisions related to the Green New Deal into the package, as well as voting measures championed by the left that Merrill and others believed could have jeopardized election security and increased voter fraud.

“I am most grateful for the $400 million provided by Congress to protect the 2020 elections. I am also thankful for the provisions that allow each state to do what is best for that state,” Merrill commented.

He said, “Senator Shelby and his team have been receptive and engaged in finding proactive solutions to ensure the safety and security of our elections are not compromised.”

“After countless calls from me and other election officials from across the country, Senator Shelby made it a priority to see that states were granted the flexibility to best accommodate their respective communities under the bill’s stipulations,” the secretary of state added. “Unlike others who have attempted to implement nationwide election changes – many that would increase the likelihood for voter fraud and voter intimidation to be committed – Senator Shelby has proven yet again that federal interference into the elections process in unwarranted and unnecessary.”

Merrill concluded by lauding the stalwart service of Shelby, as well as casting an optimistic and unifying message as the nation continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

“While we work to get through these trying times, we must remember there is much to be grateful for, such as the collaboration of federal, state and local officials across the country who are working together to provide assistance to those who are most in need,” he advised.

“At the forefront of this fight, finding a solution to the problems we face is Alabama’s Senior Senator, our greatest champion and favorite son, United States Senator Richard C. Shelby!” Merrill concluded.

RELATED: ‘From Alabama to the Moon’ — Richard Shelby is the driving force making America’s space dreams a reality

Merrill’s full statement as follows:

As we navigate these unchartered waters, we must remember that Alabama has a lot to be grateful for.

The leadership exemplified by state and national leaders like President Donald J. Trump, United States Senator Richard Shelby and Governor Kay Ivey should not go unnoticed.

Our state is incredibly lucky to have leaders who are willing to step up to the plate and go to bat for Alabama, which is precisely what Senator Shelby has done.

The historic coronavirus relief package recently appropriated to the states would not have been possible without the leadership and guidance of Senator Shelby.

How do I know this? I know this to be true because those words came straight from Senator Mitch McConnell and his team. When liberal extremists pushed their agenda, Senator Shelby drew a line in the sand and said, ‘no farther!’

I am most grateful for the $400 million provided by Congress to protect the 2020 elections. I am also thankful for the provisions that allow each state to do what is best for that state.

Senator Shelby and his team have been receptive and engaged in finding proactive solutions to ensure the safety and security of our elections are not compromised.

After countless calls from me and other election officials from across the country, Senator Shelby made it a priority to see that states were granted the flexibility to best accommodate their respective communities under the bill’s stipulations.

Unlike others who have attempted to implement nationwide election changes – many that would increase the likelihood for voter fraud and voter intimidation to be committed – Senator Shelby has proven yet again that federal interference into the elections process in unwarranted and unnecessary.

While we work to get through these trying times, we must remember there is much to be grateful for, such as the collaboration of federal, state and local officials across the country who are working together to provide assistance to those who are most in need.

At the forefront of this fight, finding a solution to the problems we face is Alabama’s Senior Senator, our greatest champion and favorite son, United States Senator Richard C. Shelby!

RELATED: Keep up with Alabama’s confirmed coronavirus cases, locations here

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

48 mins ago

6 suggestions to protect yourself from stimulus check scams

Congress moved quickly to help the American public with a $2 trillion stimulus bill.

Unfortunately, fraud experts believe scammers will move just as quickly to try to take your share away. The key is to arm yourself with information.

“No doubt, there will be fake messages that will make countless claims,” said Don White, head of Corporate Security at Regions Bank. “Scammers may text, email or call you, asking for your banking information or claiming they can process your stimulus payment for you. Don’t take the bait. Do not, under any circumstance, give away your personal information via text, email or phone to someone you do not know who is soliciting you.”

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The bipartisan legislation to boost the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic includes economic relief for American taxpayers in the form of stimulus checks. Each eligible adult will receive up to $1,200, based on gross income.

According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the checks could go out in the next two weeks, although there are still questions as to how the money will be distributed. For example, someone who received a refund on 2019 taxes via the Automated Clearing House (ACH) could receive a direct deposit.

Meanwhile, scammers are ready to take advantage by reaching out and saying your account information is needed, or that you can have their relief check for a small fee.

To avoid fraud, consider these suggestions:

1. Hang up. Don’t reply. The IRS, Treasury Department or other government agencies will not call, email or text message people to collect account information, Social Security numbers or credit card information. Anyone who does is likely a scammer, White said.

2. Do not pay anyone offering to get your stimulus funds early or sell you additional stimulus checks. This is a promise that they will not be able to fulfill.

3. Enroll in your bank’s or credit card company’s online and mobile applications to monitor your account activity frequently, looking for suspicious activity.

4. Avoid clicking on unknown links, which may expose you to viruses or malware.

5. While online, verify the legitimacy of websites you visit.

– Turn on browser tools, which can help identify fraudulent websites.

– Ensure the websites are secure and encrypted with HTTPS.

– Look for links that are broken or take you away from the original website.

– Shop through websites you know and trust.

6. As always, slow down, verify, and verify again the legitimacy of financial transactions before approving. Look for changes to account numbers, phone numbers, email addresses or other identifying information.

“We are seeing a spike in fraud activity during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jon Kucharski, Fraud Strategy Manager at Regions. “No matter what this payment winds up being, only scammers will ask you to pay to get it. Just keep in mind, these unusual times require patience and a little extra vigilance to keep your finances safe.”

(Courtesy of Regions)

1 hour ago

‘Don’t let the corona get on ya!’ — Alabama retirees sing during COVID-19 crisis

An Alabama retirement community shared a helpful message on social media this week amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a video posted on Facebook, residents of Wesley Gardens Retirement Community in Montgomery joined with facility driver Lee McBryde (while practicing social distancing by staying six steps away) to dance and sing some important lyrics during the COVID-19 crisis such as properly washing hands and covering up when coughing and sneezing to help prevent the spread.

“Don’t let the corona get on ya!” McBryde sang as residents danced around him while holding containers of disinfectant wipes.

Watch:

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Birmingham meal prep business offers buy one, give one to help feed those in need

During the novel COVID-19 economic and health crisis, one Birmingham based small business has created a way to give back. Mealfit, a catering and meal preparation company, is donating a free meal to someone in need for every meal that is ordered.

Each customer who purchases a meal for themselves will be offered an opportunity to identify someone who may be in need. Mealfit will provide a meal to those in need at no additional costs.

Mealfit founder and CEO Thomas Cox launched the program as a way to help the community during a time of need.

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“I’ve been racking my brain as a small business owner on how I can provide high-quality, healthy food in a time when people are stuck at home, while also helping people who are in need,” said Cox.

“Everyone has someone who is in need whether it be an elderly person, a single parent or someone who has been laid off because of the crisis we are going through. So from now until further notice, every time you order your Mealfit meals, we will give to a family in need,” Thomas stated.

Customers can order through the company website by 12:00 p.m. on Sunday and pick up food between 4:00-5:00 p.m. on Monday at one of 17 different locations in Birmingham. Once an order is placed the customer can simply respond to their confirmation email and identify the name, number of family members, phone number and email of the person they would like to have a free meal. Mealfit will handle the rest.

Cox only has one small request for the greater Birmingham community: “We ask that you spread the word. We can’t reach everyone on our own, but with your help, we can reach more of the people who are in need that we aren’t directly connected with.”

Go to this website and order food for you and your family. 

2 hours ago

Jefferson County: Recovering elderly COVID-19 patients must be returned to their nursing homes

The Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH) is asking nursing homes in the area to take back patients still testing positive for the coronavirus, according to a letter brought to light by the Alabama Nursing Home Association (ANHA).

The leading studies available have shown that COVID-19 is much more deadly for people over 65 than any other age group.

ANHA communications director John Matson told Alabama Media Group that the new county guidelines go “against sound medical advice.”

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The JCDH cites “the possibility that our hospitals will not have the capacity to care for a large number of patients infected with COVID-19” as the reason for nursing homes to take in the coronavirus-positive patients.

According to the department, individuals testing positive for the virus will only be returned to a nursing home if two conditions are both met:

  • At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, defined as resolution of fever without use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)
  • At least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

The department added that some patients may be returned before those conditions are met if their facility is able to adopt certain extra precautions.

Because the new guidelines are being issued by the Jefferson County Department of Health, they only apply to nursing homes in Jefferson County.

Additionally, patients hospitalized without COVID-19 symptoms do not have to test negative before being readmitted to their nursing home.

“For weeks we haven’t allowed family members and volunteers to visit our nursing homes, and our families understand why,” Matson told Alabama Media Group.

“Now they can’t visit, but we’re supposed to admit someone that’s COVID-19 positive?” Matson added.

The Jefferson County Health Department is assuring the public that it is following guidelines laid out by the CDC.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.