Alabama hires Indiana strength coach as replacement for longtime Tide staffer Scott Cochran
Cochran was with Nick Saban at LSU and for his entire stint with Alabama
One of the biggest stories from the assistant coaching carousel in the SEC came late in the calendar when Georgia announced the addition of former Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran as the Bulldogs' new special teams coordinator. It is unknown whether Cochran had a similar opportunity with the Crimson Tide, but it's clear he wanted to move out of the weight room and into an on-field coaching role.
Saban was suddenly faced with replacing not only a strength and conditioning coach but one of the figures that represented the relentless attitude we've come to expect from Alabama football. After a short search, he has chosen Indiana strength and conditioning coach David Ballou to fill that role, the program announced on Tuesday. In addition, Alabama also announced the hire of Dr. Matt Rhea as the program's Director of Performance Science.
"Just as with any other area, we feel that it is imperative that we adopt and integrate advancements in the field of strength and conditioning that will provide elite training, while better protecting our players from injuries and helping them develop and perform at a higher level," Saban said in a release. "Our program has been working toward these type of advancements with the development and construction of our own sports science center, and with the addition of David and Matt, we believe our student-athletes will be better equipped to reach their goals for many years to come."
Ballou played fullback for Indiana, earning three letters (1997-99) and graduating in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. He spent 14 years as the strength and conditioning coordinator at Avon High School in Indiana, worked at IMG Academy and spent the 2017 season at Notre Dame before returning to his alma mater in 2018.
Cochran was one of the highest-paid strength coaches in the country and has long been considered a key piece to Saban's national championship-winning ways, first linking up with Saban at LSU and joining him at Alabama in 2007. In making the move to Georgia, Cochran is taking the first steps towards a coaching career on the field and outside of the weight room. Saban offered well-wishes for Cochran on the move, but the impact of his absence will be closely monitored across the league given his long-time association with the Tide's dominance.
With offseason conditioning well underway, Ballou's impact won't be fully realized until 2021 or beyond, but the pressure will be on to help deliver results on the field immediately following Alabama's first-ever season without a College Football Playoff appearance.
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