University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban announced Friday the hiring of Billy Napier as Alabama's wide receivers coach. Napier takes over for Mike Groh, who was hired by the Chicago Bears.
"We are glad to have Billy back on our staff," said Saban. "He did an outstanding job when he was with us in 2011 and he was the first call we made when this position opened. He is a sharp young coach and he'll be a great addition working with the wide receivers. We also feel that he will be a tremendous asset to our staff in the recruiting process."
Napier returns to the Crimson Tide staff after spending the last season as Colorado State's assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach under head coach Jim McElwain, Alabama's offensive coordinator from 2008-11. During his one year at CSU, Napier helped improve the offense as the team ranked 17th in the nation in red zone scoring. Under Napier's guidance, the team also cut sacks allowed down by nearly four per game over the second half of the season, while the running game was improved by 65 yards per game over the second half of 2012. Prior to his season with the Rams, Napier served Alabama as an offensive analyst for the 2011 national championship season.
"I have a great appreciation for the University of Alabama and the program Coach Saban runs, especially after spending the 2011 season in Tuscaloosa," said Napier. "From a professional development standpoint, it was the best year in my coaching career. When you've been here and seen it first-hand, you know that you want to try and get back to Alabama if that opportunity ever presents itself. I am excited to be back and appreciate Coach Saban offering me the position. We had a great experience a year ago and we have a lot of great friends here. It is a special place because of the history and tradition, but also because of the people you work with and the fans and supporters of the program."
Before his first stop at Alabama, Napier spent five seasons with the Clemson Tigers (2006-10). He helped the Tigers lead the ACC in total offense, rushing offense and scoring offense in 2006. Napier became Clemson's youngest coordinator ever in 2009, taking over the offense at age 29. In his first year as offensive coordinator, Clemson set the school record for points scored (436) and won the ACC Atlantic Division. He served as the recruiting coordinator for three seasons (2006-08) and the '08 class was ranked No. 2 in the nation by ESPN.com. During Napier's time in Death Valley, the Tigers went to a bowl game in each of the five seasons and finished in the Top 25 twice.
Napier worked as the quarterbacks coach at South Carolina State in 2005, where he helped the Bulldogs to the fourth-best turnover margin in the country as the Bulldogs went 9-2 on the season. From 2003-04 Napier was a graduate assistant at Clemson.
Napier was a four-year letterwinner for Furman as a quarterback from 1999-02. During his four years at Furman, he earned two conference championships and was twice named an all-conference selection performer. Furman was the national runner-up in '01 in his junior season. He was a team captain as a senior and was named a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, given to the nation's most outstanding offensive player.