Joe Houston spent one year on the Alabama staff under Nick Saban. Now, he’s off to the NFL, to coach under Saban’s good friend and former boss Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots.
Houston came over from Iowa State, where he served as special teams coordinator under Matt Campbell. He’s been a fast riser in the special teams ranks. Houston kicked at USC, finishing his career back in 2010. Two years later, he began his coaching career at El Camino Community College.
In 2015, he made the jump up to the FBS ranks, taking a quality control position at Toledo. He followed Campbell to Iowa State, where he served in a similar role for two years, before being bumped up to the official special teams role. Campbell is considered one of the best young coaches in America, and is clearly impressed with Houston. In 2018, he called him “maybe the best kicking coach in the country,” in an interview with the Des Moines Register.
Kicking has long been an issue at Alabama under Nick Saban. Things were still a bit shaky with Houston on staff this season, with Joseph Bulovas and Will Reichard combining to go 12-for-18 on field goals and 80-for-83 on extra points. During the NFL coaching carousel, the New England Patriots lost special teams guru Joe Judge to the New York Giants, who hired him as head coach. Nick Saban and Patriots coach Bill Belichick have a famously strong relationship, and now Joe Houston is jumping from Saban’s staff to Belichick’s, according to college football insider Bruce Feldman.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) February 21, 2020
It appears that he will split that assistant special teams coordinator title with Cameron Achord, who is currently on the Pats’ staff.
Achord is entering his third year with New England, after five seasons at Southwest Mississippi Community College. Based on his experience, he is more focused on the return game. It looks like he and Houston can make for a pretty strong pair.