Connect with us

Detroit Lions

Freddie Kitchens joins Alabama’s lineup of NFL head coaches

When Bruce Arians served as Alabama’s offensive coordinator in 1997, he worked with Freddie Kitchens as the Crimson Tide’s quarterback.

On Thursday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers introduced Arians as their next head coach. On Saturday, the Cleveland Browns announced what had been reported on Wednesday — that Kitchens is their new head coach.

Kitchens becomes the sixth former Alabama player to serve as the head coach of an NFL team.

The Crimson Tide alumni who preceded Kitchens in leading NFL teams were Harry Gilmer, Ray Perkins, Mike Riley, Bart Starr and Richard Williamson.

The Browns will hope Kitchens fares better than his Bama brethren. None of the others have a winning career record as an NFL coach.

Gilmer compiled a 10-16-2 record with the Detroit Lions in 1965 and 1966. Three of those losses came against the Green Bay Packers, who were on their way to NFL championships in those seasons with Starr at quarterback.

Gilmer played halfback at Alabama from 1944 through 1947 and left the Tide as the No. 1 selection in the 1948 NFL Draft. The former Woodlawn High School star finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1945 and 1947 and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

After helping the Packers win five NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls, on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Starr returned to try to restore Green Bay’s fortunes seven seasons after the retirement of coach Vince Lombardi.

Starr coached the Packers from 1975 through 1983 to a 52-76-3 regular-season record. Green Bay qualified for the playoffs in 1982 and went 1-1.

The former Sidney Lanier High School standout played at Alabama from 1952 through 1955.

Listen as Cherry Starr tells Jaguars’ Calais Campbell he’s won Bart Starr Award

Perkins coached the New York Giants from 1979 through 1982. He and Starr squared off twice across NFL fields. The Giants defeated the Packers 27-21 on Nov. 16, 1980, and Green Bay defeated New York 27-14 on Oct. 4, 1981.

Perkins had a 23-34 regular-season record with the Giants and went 1-1 in the playoffs in 1981.

Perkins left New York to replace Paul “Bear” Bryant as Alabama’s coach after the icon retired following the 1982 season.

Perkins led the Tide for four seasons before returning to the NFL to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs fired Perkins with three games left in his fourth season. He had a 19-41 record with Tampa Bay and a 42-75 overall NFL coaching mark.

Williamson replaced Perkins for the final three games of the 1990 season as the Bucs’ coach. He’d been the team’s offensive coordinator. Tampa Bay retained Williamson as the head coach for the 1991 season, and the Bucs went 3-13 to complete his head-coaching career with a 4-15 record.

Williamson and Perkins were ends at Alabama. Williamson played for the Tide in the 1961 and 1962 seasons, and Perkins played from 1964 through 1965.

Riley played defensive back at Alabama from 1971 through 1974.

He coached the San Diego Chargers from 1999 through 2001, compiling a 14-34 record.


Kitchens shared the quarterback duties at Alabama with Brian Burgdorf in 1995 before taking over full-time under center for the Crimson Tide in the 1996 and 1997 seasons.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.

Source Link

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Detroit Lions