Alabama hires Tommy Rees: Crimson Tide poach Notre Dame offensive coordinator to replace Bill O’Brien
Nick Saban has hired Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees for the same position in Alabama, the school announced Monday. Rhys replaces Bill O’Brien, who left to take the same position with the New England Patriots after an 11-2 campaign. Reece is Saban’s fifth offensive coordinator since Lane Kiffin retired as FAU coach ahead of the 2017 College Football National Playoff Championship.
At age 30, Rhys is the youngest Saban coordinator since Will Musham, who was LSU’s defensive coordinator in 2002. Reece was Notre Dame’s quarterbacks coach in 2017-19 under former coach Brian Kelly and added the role of offensive coordinator in 2020. Notre Dame quarterback from 2010 to 2019. He is 13 and has never been a full-time assistant coach for another program, but was a hitter with the San Diego Chargers in 2016 and an alumnus assistant with the Northwestern.
“I have the utmost respect for what Coach Saban has created in Alabama and the tradition of this program,” Reece said in a statement. “I’m very excited about this opportunity and I’m looking forward to being in the conference room and on the training field with this team.”
The Fighting Irish offense flourished under Rees until the 2022 season, which was hampered by an injury to starting quarterback Tyler Buechner in the second week. In the other two years under Rees, the Irish averaged at least 6 yards per game. Last year, Reece led the transition from Buechner to Drew Pine at quarterback, focusing on the ground approach. After a slow start, Notre Dame’s offense has scored 35 points in six of their last seven games.
Ries’ blocks were characterized by their schematic versatility. The Fighting Irish are ranked 20th nationally in passing offense with Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan at the helm in 2021. When Buechner and top wide receiver Avery Davis were injured, Reese turned the script around and relied on tight end Michael Mayer and a running game that improved by 0.5. yards per carry over the previous year. In Alabama, Rhys will have a talented team of playmakers who will build a unique, complex system from the ground up.
“We are delighted to have enlisted such a gifted group of coaches to develop our players both on and off the field,” said Saban, also announcing. defense coordinator Kevin Steele and linebacker coach Austin Armstrong. “Kevin, Tommy and Austin have a great combination of energy, enthusiasm and experience that will be a huge asset to our program. They are all great game teachers and fantastic recruiters who bring a wealth of experience and resources to our staff.”
Alabama previously interviewed Washington offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, who coached quarterback Michael Penix Jr. to become the nation’s top passer for 357 yards per game. However, Grubb reportedly turned down the job back to husky.