AL.com's Ainslie Lee pointed out (well, posters on X did first) that the potential downfall of Kalen DeBoer's tenure at Alabama, which began on January 12 when the Crimson Tide made his hiring official, could be caused by one of the things that Auburn football fans saw lead to the dooming of Bryan Harsin's Plains stint: his lack of connections to the state of Alabama and the southeast in general.
"DeBoer’s move from Seattle to Tuscaloosa comes after he posted a 25-3 record at Washington — a significant turnaround considering the Huskies went just 4-8 the season prior to DeBoer’s arrival," Lee prefaced before saying, "However, as many have pointed out, DeBoer doesn’t have many ties to the state of Alabama or the Southeast as a whole.
"Auburn fans can attest to that being a bit of a red flag. In 2020, Auburn hired Bryan Harsin as the Tigers’ next head coach after he spent seven seasons at the helm of Boise State’s program. At the time of Harsin’s hiring, a two-year stint as quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator at Texas was as close as he got to the state of Alabama."
Bryan Harsin's Auburn football tenure isn't a bellwether for how Kalen DeBoer will fare at Alabama
Having southern connections is important, but it's not the be-all, end-all of what makes a coach successful in the SEC. Harsin's AU failures had a lot more to do with his refusal to make any meaningful connections with local high school coaches than where he was born, raised, and had previous coaching experience.
There's countless success stories of non-southern men leading SEC programs, but Harsin refused to put in the work to be one. He also had problems connecting with players from the south, and reportedly didn't work very hard at establishing those either.
DeBoer is not doomed because he is a Midwesterner who became a name in coaching on the west coast. Failing to follow up Nick Saban and meet the expectations Tide fans have of the program is far more likely.