In a stunning development for college football fans, Nick Saban, revered as one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, has announced his retirement. The news broke on Wednesday, as sources informed ESPN’s Chris Low that Saban, 72, conveyed his decision to retire to the Alabama Crimson Tide, concluding an illustrious coaching career that spanned nearly three decades.
Saban’s legacy is etched in the annals of college football history, particularly during his remarkable 17-season tenure at the University of Alabama. The curtain fell on his coaching journey with a Rose Bowl loss to eventual national champion Michigan, marking the end of an era.
Over the course of his career, Saban claimed an unprecedented seven national titles, six of which were secured during his tenure with the Crimson Tide. In his 17 seasons at Alabama, he amassed a staggering 201 victories, a feat matched only by Vince Dooley at Georgia in SEC history, trailing the legendary Bear Bryant. Saban’s coaching prowess was exemplified by the fact that he won more games in his 17 seasons than Alabama did in the 24 seasons between Bryant’s retirement and Saban’s arrival.
Saban’s coaching career spans 28 years, encompassing a period marked by unparalleled success. His resume boasts seven national championships, 12 conference titles, and 19 bowl game victories, all achieved without ever experiencing a losing season. His impact on the game is encapsulated by his 292-71-1 coaching record, ranking him sixth all-time in FBS wins and 12th in NCAA college football history across all divisions.
The coaching maestro also ventured into the NFL, serving as the defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns from 1991-94 and later as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2005-06. Although his NFL stint was relatively brief, Saban continued to mold NFL talent during his tenure at Alabama.
Under Saban’s guidance, Alabama consistently produced top-tier NFL prospects, with the 2023 NFL draft witnessing three Crimson Tide players selected in the first round. This included Bryce Young, who became the Tide’s first No. 1 overall pick in the Common Draft era since 1967. Saban’s influence extended to the NFL draft, with a total of 49 players selected in the first round throughout his career, a record for any coach in the Common Draft era.
Alabama’s dominance under Saban is further highlighted by their unprecedented streak of at least 10 wins in 16 consecutive seasons, the longest in the AP Poll era. Remarkably, this sustained success occurred despite facing 107 games against AP-ranked teams during Saban’s tenure, a testament to his coaching acumen.
Saban’s departure leaves a void in college football that will be challenging to fill. His seven BCS/CFP national championships since 1998 stand as a testament to his coaching genius, surpassing any other head coach by a considerable margin. As the Crimson Tide adjusts to a new era, Saban’s impact on the sport will resonate for years to come. Alabama’s odds to win the next season’s national championship shifted after Saban’s retirement was reported, marking the end of a coaching era and the beginning of a new chapter in college football.