During the 2000 football season, Adam Gase and Freddie Kitchens worked as graduate assistants on the staff of coach Nick Saban at LSU. On Wednesday, reports indicated Gase was the choice to fill the New York Jets’ head-coaching vacancy and Kitchens had been picked to become the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
After one season at LSU, Kitchens moved on to become the running-backs coach at North Texas.
Gase worked with Saban for two more years before beginning his NFL career as a scouting assistant with the Detroit Lions. Gase got his start helping Saban’s staff at Michigan State while still a student.
“There was a regimen every day,” Gase said in 2017 about working with Saban. “You just knew exactly what to expect. You knew what was coming, and it was a grind. It was tough. It wasn’t easy. But there was a purpose behind everything, and he had a great process, and I’ve gravitated towards that. Everything is just so ingrained in my DNA now.”
The Jets can only hope Gase’s post-Miami career path emulates Saban’s work since he left the Dolphins.
Saban worked as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2005 and 2006, compiling a 15-17 overall record before leaving for Alabama. With the Crimson Tide, Saban has coached five national-championship teams and guided two more that reached the CFP title game.
Gase has served as the Dolphins’ coach for the past three seasons. He led Miami to its only postseason appearance in the past 10 seasons in 2016, when the Dolphins registered a 10-6 regular-season record.
But Miami went 6-10 in 2017 and 7-9 in 2018, and Gase was not retained by the Dolphins.
Gase changes sidelines in the AFC East after the Jets parted ways with Todd Bowles. In four seasons under Bowles, the Jets posted a 24-40 record, including a 4-12 mark in 2018 after Bowles started his tenure with a 10-6 showing in 2015.
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.