Nick Saban announcing his retirement is still leading headlines, even with the news of Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick also not coaching for their respective teams next year. Yes, he was that great of a coach. However, what seems to be the bigger headline and what everyone wants to know is who will be taking over the legendary coach's position.
Everyone and their mother are talking about Clemson's Dabo Swinney, Washington's Kalen DeBoer, and Florida State's Mike Norvell. However, one former star Alabama quarterback is throwing a name of his own out there.
Former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy won Saban's first National Championship in Tuscaloosa back in 2009. Now with ESPN, McElroy has a few guys he wants to see as Alabama's next head coach. Who is his choice? Stay calm Wildcat fans, but he wants Chris Klieman.
On his podcast McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning, McElroy when talking about who he wants as Alabama's next head coach says, "I'm all in on a guy like Chris Klieman. All in. Like, you want ball coach, a guy that's just a flat-out ball coach, Chris Klieman's your guy. That dude will get it done."
Now before you freak out, let's look a this rationally. Klieman has an impressive resume there is no denying that. In his five years coaching in the FCS at North Dakota State, he won four FCS National Championships. In his current six-year stint at K-State, he is 63-39 overall, 26-19 in Big 12 games, and 2-2 in bowl games.
In my opinion, Klieman has done a lot of great things. It is not easy to take over for a legend like Bill Snyder in Manhattan. However, do I think he has what it takes to step into the Alabama head coaching job? The answer is short and sweet.
McElroy makes some good points, Klieman is a flat-out ball coach who knows how to get it done, but he needs a lot more experience before he will be in the conversation. Also, let's not forget that Sugar Bowl game Kansas State had against Alabama.
Alabama needs a coach that can withstand the pressure of a big-time program. Yes, Kansas State is in the Big 12, a Power Five conference, but I believe they need to prove themselves more before they can be in the conversation with programs such as Clemson or Florida State. They need to show that with Texas and Oklahoma leaving, they can run that conference year in and year out.
Kansas State being one of the top schools in Big 12 football will also help with recruiting. Klieman has shown he can find the diamond in the rough and make a championship-caliber team. However, imagine what he can do with big-name recruits. He has shown he can get the local guys, Avery Johnson is a great example of that, but what about out-of-state guys? He needs to show that can recruit guys from all around the country and make Kansas State THE program in the Big 12.
I believe if Klieman can dominate the Big 12 over the next two to three seasons, he will find himself in the conversation for big-time college coaching jobs. Until then, I think K-State fans will be happy to keep him in Manhattan.