Alabama's Assistant Coaches

Bama's new coaches By: J.E. Lisby ( Date: 12/27/2000

Dennis Franchione

Head Coach -- Franchione arrives at Alabama with a reputation for turning troubled programs around. A winner at every stop in his coaching career, Coach Fran says he was drawn to Alabama by its tradition and the opportunity to compete for a national championship.


Les Koenning Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks Coach -- Koenning has been with Franchione for several years and is expected to handle play-calling duties in the press box during games. Coach Fran will frankly explain that offense is his area of expertise, so it's logical to assume that next year's Tide offense will bear his imprint.

Lee Fobbs; Running Backs--Info n/a

Jim Bob Helduser; Offesive Line-- With a name like "Jim Bob," some would suggest that Helduser was destined to coach in the Deep South. But the truth is that Franchione and Helduser have been together for some time now, and Coach Fran feels very comfortable entrusting his offensive line to the coaching veteran. Expect Alabama's line under Helduser's direction to be strong, well-conditioned and to play with an attitude. In addition to coaching the offensive line, Helduser will direct field goal and PAT protection on Special Teams. CJBH Photo #2

Kenith Pope Wide Receivers -- Pope is another coaching veteran who after stops at Lamar, SMU and Oklahoma State has found a home on Coach Franchione's staff. A former standout player at Oklahoma, Pope is as tough as they come, but he also maintains an excellent rapport with his players. He'll bring with him a mandate from Franchione to improve the discipline and toughness of Bama's wideouts.


Carl Torbush; Defensive Coordinator & Linebackers -- Torbush's hire to direct the Tide defense sent a clear signal that Franchione was determined to hire the absolute best coaching talent in the nation. For the past three years, Torbush served as head coach at North Carolina, but before that he developed a national reputation as one of the best defensive minds in college football. Things could change, but in the past Torbush has always specifically coached the linebackers in addition to his coordinator duties.

Stan Eggen; Defensive Line -- Standing only 5-10, Eggen doesn't look like your typical fire-breathing D-Line coach, but appearances can be deceiving. With stints as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach prior to joining Franchione, Eggen brings a deeper understanding of overall defensive schemes to his work with the defensive line. Expect an attacking, up-the-field style of play from Eggen's unit. Get up the field, disrupt the play and read as you go. On Special Teams, Eggen works with the punt and kick block units. Photo #2 Coach Eggen

Chris Thurmond; Cornerbacks and/or Safeties -- A veteran secondary coach, Thurmond will likely add safeties to his role as Cornerbacks Coach on this year's staff. One of the most intense coaches you'll want to see on the practice field, Thurmond teaches an aggressive, in-your-face style of defense to his unit. He's also responsible for the punt coverage unit on Special Teams.

S*P*E*C*I*A*L*T*I*E*S Mark Tommerdahl Special Teams Coordinator and Tight Ends -- After spending his entire coaching career out West, Tommerdahl arrives at Alabama excited about the chance of competing for championships. In addition to coaching the tight ends, Tommerdahl handles the larger duty of coordinating Franchione's Special Teams. Various assistant coaches function as "head coaches" of given units, but Tommerdahl is in overall control of the Tide kicking game. He'll personally work with the punters and placekickers.

Charley North Director of Football Operations -- North, the self-described "old bull" of the staff, handles a variety of responsibilities for Franchione and his assistants. This time of year he primarily attempts to keep the other coaches working efficiently in recruiting. During the season he handles the thousands of details that surround a football team, freeing up the other coaches to concentrate their efforts on the practice field. Plus, Franchione has described North as a sort of sounding board for everyone with a new idea to talk to before heading to Coach Fran's office.

Ben Pollard.... Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for Football -- With the high emphasis that Franchione places on strength and conditioning, Pollard's decision to accompany the staff to Tuscaloosa was seen as crucial to the team's long-term success. As Franchione is fond of noting, when a 300-pound bench presser is matched up with a 400-pounder, all things being equal the stronger man is likely to win out. And under the overall direction of Pollard, the Bama team has already received their marching orders to get stronger across the board during the off-season workouts.

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