Former UA Assistant Coach Headed to Aggies

TUSCALOOSA | Joe Kines maintained that it would take something special for him to leave the Capstone, even after spending most of last year raising money for the University of Alabama athletic department.

But that's exactly what came along.

After being pursued and courted by Texas A&M's Mike Sherman, the 63-year-old Kines has decided to get back into coaching and accept the offer to become the Aggies' defensive coordinator.

Although Kines could not be reached for comment, he interviewed in College Station on Tuesday, and notified Alabama officials of his decision Wednesday, before taking time to say thank you and goodbye to numerous athletic department employees. The hiring, which was first reported by The Tuscaloosa News, could be officially announced as soon as Thursday.

Under his direction as defensive coordinator, assistant head coach and linebackers coach, the 2005 Tide ranked first nationally in scoring defense, second in scoring defense, and fifth in both pass defense and pass efficiency defense. The previous season, 2004, Alabama ranked second in total defense.

Kines was also the Crimson Tide's interim head coach for the 2006 Independence Bowl after head coach Mike Shula was fired at the end of the regular season. When Alabama subsequently hired Nick Saban, who did not retain any of Shula's staff, Kines opted to stay in Tuscaloosa to be close to his family and grandchildren instead of pursuing other coaching jobs.

Kines will replace Reggie Herring, who was hired as defensive coordinator on Jan. 4, but left last Friday to become the linebackers coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He had a three-year contract worth $1 million.

Although Kines has never worked in the Lone Star State - previous stops include Clemson, Florida, Georgia, his alma mater Jacksonville State, and with the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers - fans there remember him from the 2006 Cotton Bowl, when the Crimson Tide defense limited high-flying Texas Tech to one touchdown and 329 total yards. The Red Raiders, who averaged 495.8 yards of offense, lost 13-10.

The move will also reunite Kines with defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt, who had a similar role under Shula.

"When I was the head football coach and general manager at Green Bay, I came to visit Texas A&M's senior pro day during the time Coach Wyatt was here at A&M and I was impressed by how prepared his players were," Sherman said last month. "His players seemed to make a smooth transition from college football to the NFL and Buddy had them well prepared for the next level.

"Coach Wyatt fits the bill of what I look for in a coach. "He is a great communicator as well as a passionate coach about football and Texas A&M."

It is the second consecutive hiring in as many days among former Shula staffers, as running backs coach Sparky Woods was named head coach at Virginia Military Institute on Tuesday. Both he and Kines were at Alabama from 2003-06.