Alabama Signs Coach Away From Auburn
New Alabama Associate Head Coach James Willis
New Alabama Associate Head Coach James Willis
Posted Jan 21, 2009

A former Auburn star linebacker, and current coach on the Tigers staff is making the move to Tuscaloosa.

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Auburn linebacker coach James Willis will be taking a new job, and it's a job that many Auburn fans won't like. Alabama confirmed Wednesday that Willis will be joining Nick Saban's staff at the University of Alabama as Associate Head Coach.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to come and work with Coach Saban at the University of Alabama," Willis said in a prepared statement. "He is one of the best defensive coaches in the game and this is a chance to gain some great experience and learn from the best. You don't get many chances like that in the coaching business. When you combine that opportunity with the history and tradition at Alabama, it was a decision that was best for me personally as well as professionally. I know my wife and the kids are as excited as I am to join Coach Saban's staff."

With only two weeks before National Signing Day, the move comes at a curious time. Willis is known around the SEC as a strong coach and an even stronger recruiter. At Auburn, he was heavily involved in recruiting the talent-rich Mobile, Ala. area. With Auburn going through an off-season coaching change and Alabama coming off the SEC West title, the coup to get Willis will undoubtedly send shockwaves through the football-frenzied state.

Willis played three seasons at Auburn under former coach Pat Dye between 1990-92, before leaving early for the NFL. While at Auburn, Willis was an All-SEC performer in 1992. Willis enjoyed a long professional career, playing seven seasons in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks, as well as one season with the Birmingham Thunderbolts of the now-defunct XFL. Prior to the move, he was the only holdover on Gene Chizik's Auburn staff from Tommy Tuberville's previous regime.

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Story Archive:
Alabama Signs Coach Away From Auburn - January 21, 2009
America Deserves a USC vs. SEC Title Game – January 10, 2009
Chizik Putting Together A Solid Staff – January 6, 2009
End Of The Season Accountability – December 31, 2008
3 Non-BCS Games You Should Watch – December 10, 2008
Who Will Be The Next Auburn Coach? – December 3, 2008
Big XII Blunder – December 1, 2008
Arkansas' Loss Has Been Ole Miss' Gain – November 23, 2008
SEC Championship Hype A Bit Premature – November 20, 2008
Auburn vs. Georgia Still Has Meaning – November 12, 2008
Auburn In Must-Win Situation vs. Ole Miss – October 28, 2008
Georgia vs. LSU – SEC Elimination Game – October 21, 2008
Franklin's Firing Isn't All Bad – October 8, 2008
SEC West September Synopsis – September 28, 2008
Fixing Auburn's Offense – September 15, 2008
Wells or Not, USC's Defense Will Dominate – September 10, 2008
No Need To Panic, Auburn Fans – September 2, 2008
SEC and ESPN Reach Mega Deal – August 25, 2008
What Will Happen In The SEC – August 18, 2008
Bama Is Not Back – August 5, 2008
SEC Under-The-Radar Games – July 26, 2008
Enough With The Buckeyes – July 16, 2008
SEC Coaches: How Many Is Too Many? - July 8, 2008
New Coordinators No Problem For Auburn - July 1, 2008

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Willis Leaving Auburn Staff For Rival
 -by  Jan 21, 2009
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 -by  Jan 21, 2009
Williamson Standout Irked With Willis
 -by  Jan 21, 2009

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