TUSCALOOSA – Alabama head football coach Nick Saban announced the addition of Jay Valai to the Crimson Tide staff on Thursday as the cornerbacks coach.
"We are pleased and happy to be able to add Jay Valai to our staff to coach cornerbacks,” Saban said. “Jay is an excellent young coach who possesses outstanding knowledge and enthusiasm for the game. He is a really good teacher and an outstanding recruiter who works tirelessly at his craft. We are excited to welcome Jay and his family to Tuscaloosa.”
Valai arrives in Tuscaloosa after one season coaching cornerbacks at the University of Texas for then-defensive coordinator Chris Ash. During his time in Austin, Valai helped the Longhorns’ Josh Thompson earn second team All-Big 12 honors after making 28 tackles, with three tackles for loss and an interception last season.
He was recently hired by the Philadelphia Eagles, but has decided to move on to Alabama instead of staying with the NFL team.
“Words can’t express how excited I am to have the opportunity to coach cornerbacks in the SEC at Alabama,” Valai said. “The decision to leave the Philadelphia Eagles was one of the hardest choices I’ve ever made, but the chance to work for Coach Saban who is one of the all-time great head coaches and defensive minds is truly a special opportunity. I’m looking forward to calling Tuscaloosa home and putting in work with some of the best defensive backs in the nation.”
Valai served as cornerbacks coach at Rutgers in 2019 after spending the 2018 season with the Kansas City Chiefs, serving as defensive quality control and assistant defensive backs coach. The Chiefs ranked fifth in the NFL with 16 interceptions and fifth in completion percentage (62.7) while ranking 10th in the league in pass efficiency defense.
He spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons at Georgia as defensive quality control coach, helping the Bulldogs' win the Rose Bowl at the end of the 2017 season and earn a spot in the CFP National Championship Game.
Valai was a four-year letter winner at Wisconsin, where he captained the Badgers 2010 Rose Bowl team. He earned second team All-Big Ten (coaches) honors in 2008 and 2009. He totaled 153 tackles, four forced fumbles and a pair of interceptions in 48 career games. He appeared in four bowl games with the Badgers, including winning the 2010 Big Ten Championship and advancing to the Rose Bowl that same season.
Following his playing career, Valai opened a sports performance training facility and for six years (2011-16), he worked with professional athletes from the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Football League (NFL), as well as high school student-athletes.