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January 18, 2012TUSCALOOSA | University of Alabama coach Nick Saban officially announced the hiring of offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and defensive assistant Lance Thompson Wednesday, filling UA's only two football coaching vacancies and presumably setting his staff in place for the 2012 season.
Nussmeier replaces Jim McElwain, who took the head coaching job at Colorado State, while Thompson replaces Sal Sunseri, who left to become defensive coordinator at Tennessee. Both hires were first reported earlier in the week.
Nussmeier comes from the University of Washington, where he was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for three seasons.
"We are excited to have Doug as our new offensive coordinator at Alabama," Saban said. "Not only does he have a good deal of experience as a coach and a player both at the college and NFL level, but he also brings a great passion for the game and a lot of energy and enthusiasm. At Washington, they were very productive on offense, especially with their quarterbacks."
Added Nussmeier: "I'm looking forward to jumping right in with recruiting and then getting to know the players and everyone involved with the program. Coach Saban and his staff have obviously done a tremendous job here and I want to do my part to help continue that success. I've heard a lot about Alabama football in terms of the history, the tradition, the great fans, and I can already see why this is such a special place."
Unlike Nussmeier, Thompson needs no introduction to the Crimson Tide program. He was part of Saban's original coaching staff at Alabama and left for Tennessee after two years.
"I'm really glad to be back at Alabama, and I appreciate the opportunity Coach Saban and Kirby Smart have offered me," said Thompson. "As a defensive coach, it doesn't get any better. I look forward to doing my part in helping to maintain the success Coach Saban has brought back to the program.
Unless Saban chooses to shuffle staff roles, Thompson will coach UA's outside linebackers as Sunseri did. That is the position he coached in his previous stint on the UA staff.
"We are pleased and happy to have Lance join our staff," said Saban. "He has worked for us previously and has always done an outstanding job with all of the aspects that go into being an assistant coach. Lance knows our system on defense well, and he does a great job of communicating that information to the players. On a personal level, he relates well with the players and is a very good recruiter."
Reach Chase Goodbread at email@example.com or at 205-722-0196.