TUSCALOOSA — Two weeks after Freddie Roach was photographed wearing the script-A on his chest once again, Alabama formally announced his return to the Crimson Tide coaching staff.
Roach was announced as Alabama's new defensive line coach, the same position he held for the last three years at Ole Miss, during a release Thursday afternoon, one day after National Signing Day.
“We are pleased and happy to have Freddie Roach return to our staff at The University of Alabama,” head coach Nick Saban was quoted as saying in a news release. “Freddie did a fantastic job at Ole Miss the last three years coaching their defensive line and we are excited to welcome him back to Tuscaloosa. Freddie played here and has been a part of our staff on a couple of occasions. He brings a tremendous understanding of what we do on defense, how we run our program while proving to an outstanding recruiter.”
The Roach announcement, the only expected change to Alabama's on-field staff from last season following back-to-back offseason overhauls the prior two years, came the same day the Indianapolis Colts announced the hiring of former Crimson Tide defensive line coach Brian Baker to the same position on their staff.
Baker, who spent one season as Alabama's associate head coach/defensive line coach after three years at Mississippi State, goes back to the NFL, where he has 19 seasons of coaching experience.
Meanwhile, Roach returns to Tuscaloosa, where he was an All-SEC linebacker at Alabama in 2002-05 and had two previous stints as a member of the Crimson Tide's support staff, including two years as the team's director of player development between 2015-16, and his role as an assistant strength coach during 2008-10. Roach also had one-year coaching stints at East Mississippi Community College and Murray State before a two-year run as South Alabama’s defensive ends and linebackers coach between 2013-2014.
“It is hard to even put into words how exciting it is to come back to The University of Alabama,” Roach was quoted as saying in a news release. “This is a fantastic opportunity to return home and work for Coach Saban and my alma mater. I have a great deal of respect for Coach and his accomplishments as well as the rich history of Alabama football. I also understand the high expectations of both Coach Saban and the program. I am looking forward to helping continue that history of success.”
Roach was photographed on the road recruiting for the Crimson Tide after a photo of him wearing a long-sleeve Crimson shirt with the script-A on the front was shared by Memphis (Tenn.) Academy head coach Cedric Miller on Jan. 21.
"When we get ready to release something on Freddie Roach we'll do it. There's always some internal things that have to happen when you hire someone," Saban said Jan. 22 during his annual Senior Bowl visit to Mobile. "Freddie's an Alabama guy, we'd love to have him be a part of our program and hopefully all those things will work out favorably for us."
As a player at Alabama, Roach was a four-year letterman (2002-05), during which he was named the National Freshman of the Year in addition to earning freshman All-America accolades and twice tabbed as a second team All-SEC honoree.
A native of Killen, Roach earned his bachelor’s degree in human environmental sciences from Alabama in 2008.
As is the case with all staffing additions, all employment contracts are subject to approval by The University of Alabama Board of Trustees.
Alex Byington is the Montgomery Advertiser's Alabama beat reporter. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @_AlexByington.