Spurrier's Staff

If Steve Spurrier is enticed to leave South Carolina for the head football coaching job at Alabama, Crimson Tide attention will immediately turn to his coaching staff. Which if any current Bama assistants might be retained? And the big one: is Bill "Brother" Oliver making another stop in Tuscaloosa?

Steve Spurrier has generally been considered the offensive genius wherever he has coached in college. And the perception from afar has been that he hired a good defensive coordinator and lets that man take care of the stop troops.

At Alabama, Spurrier would have the budget to get the man he wants to head up that defense. And he would have a ready list of outstanding candidates.

Spurrier's defensive coordinator at South Carolina is Tyrone Nix. Nix is well known to Alabama fans from his playing days at Etowah High School in Attalla and at Southern Miss (1990-93) to his defensive coaching skills with the Golden Eagles (1995-2004, the last two as defensive coordinator). In his career he has coached every defensive position, though he coaches inside linebackers in the Gamecocks' 4-3 scheme. At 34 he is quite young to be so experienced as a defensive coordinator.

There is always the possibility that Nix could be considered for Spurrier's replacement at South Carolina or for another head coaching vacancy.

It is believed that one selling point Alabama had for any potential new head coach was the possibility that Joe Kines would stay on board to run the defense. Kines, 62, is highly-respected for having had excellent defensive teams at Alabama the past few years. This is his second stint as defensive coordinator with the Crimson Tide, having previously served in the mid-1980s under Ray Perkins. He also has an impressive resume with previous coaching stops at Jacksonville State, Clemson, Florida, Tampa Bay, Arkansas, Georgia and Florida State.

Kines was head coach for a year at Arkansas and also wore the hat of assistant head coach at Alabama before taking over for Mike Shula as interim head coach. He was an assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Jacksonville State (his alma mater), Florida, Arkansas, and Georgia.

Most intriguing is the potential for the return of Bill "Brother" Oliver to Alabama. Oliver was last in coaching as head coach at Auburn eight years ago. The 67-year-old Oliver has a deserved reputation as a defensive genius and the prospects of a Spurrier-Oliver pairing has been anticipated like the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes hook-up. Oliver was a member of Coach Paul Bryant's first recruiting class and a player on his first national championship team in 1961. He returned to Alabama as an assistant coach (hired away from Auburn) in 1971. He was a member of three Alabama staffs that won national championships (1973, 1978 and 1979), then became head coach at Tennessee-Chattanooga. He then went into pro ball with the Memphis Showboats (1984-85), went to Clemson as secondary coach (1986-89), and returned to Alabama as secondary coach (and later defensive coordinator) under Gene Stallings, winning another national championship in 1992.

Oliver then went to Auburn as an assistant to Terry Bowden and was named head coach following Bowden's resignation. Oliver was passed over for the permanent job when Auburn selected Tommy Tuberville and Oliver retired from coaching in 1998.

Of course there are many other possibilities as Spurrier has a long and varied career in football with outstanding coaches. But these are likely to be among the candidates for defensive coordinator at Alabama on a Steve Spurrier staff.

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