AP source: Alabama hiring Notre Dame OC Tommy Rees
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By RALPH D. RUSSO
Alabama is hiring Notre Dame assistant coach Tommy Rees to be its offensive coordinator, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Friday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was being finalized and still needed university approval.
The South Bend Tribune was first to report Rees was leaving his alma mater to join coach Nick Saban's Crimson Tide.
Rees interviewed with Saban earlier in the week and then visited Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Thursday.
The 30-year-old Rees is replacing Bill O'Brien, who left to take the offensive coordinator position with the Patriots. The former Houston Texans coach was an assistant with New England before becoming Penn State's head coach in 2012.
Alabama offensive coordinator has been a launching pad position in recent years. Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin, Maryland coach Mike Locksley and Texas coach Steve Sarkisian have all served as Saban's OC, along with Giants coach Brian Daboll.
Daboll returned to the NFL as an offensive coordinator after his one season in Tuscaloosa and then landed his first head coaching job last year.
Rees, a former Notre Dame quarterback, has been an assistant there since 2017 and offensive coordinator since 2020. He also spent a year with the San Diego Chargers in 2016 before returning to South Bend, Indiana.
Rees was wooed by Brian Kelly when he left Notre Dame for LSU, and by Miami last year, but decided to stay and work for first-year coach Marcus Freeman. Notre Dame finished 9-4 last season.
Notre Dame's offense has been solid statistically under Rees, ranking 45th (last season), 43rd (2021) and 39th (2020) nationally in yards per play.
Alabama will be breaking in a new starting quarterback next season after Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young declared for the NFL draft.
AP Sports Writer John Zenor in Montgomery, Alabama, contributed.
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Updated February 3, 2023