Nick Saban is ending his historic coaching career at Alabama.
Saban, 72, is the most decorated coach in the history of college football and arguably one of the greatest coaches in the history of North American sports. He won seven national championships over his 28 years as a college football head coach, edging out fellow Alabama head coach Bear Bryant for the most of all-time by one.
Saban spent most of his head coaching career at Alabama, achieving unprecedented success over his 17 years at the helm. After being hired by the school in 2007, Saban led the Crimson Tide to six national titles and nine SEC championships. Additionally, Saban led Alabama to the College Football Playoff eight times in the 10 seasons of the four-team era.
The latest College Football Playoff trip for Alabama ended in disappointment, though. The Tide fell to No. 1 Michigan, 27-20, in overtime at the Rose Bowl. The Wolverines won the national title on Monday.
In the days following Alabama’s season-ending loss, Saban indicated that he wasn’t set to retire this offseason.
Prior to joining Alabama in 2007, Saban’s other stops as a college football head coach were Toledo (1990), Michigan State (1995-99) and LSU (2000-04). Saban won his first title while at LSU, leading his squad to an upset win over Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl at the end of the 2003 season.
Saban briefly dipped his toes as a head coach in the NFL, signing on to become the Miami Dolphins head coach in 2005. But Saban wasn’t able to accomplish the same success at the professional level that he did in the college game, going 9-7 in his first season before going 6-10 in 2006. He resigned in the days following the Dolphins’ final game of the 2006 season to accept the Alabama, job, replacing Mike Shula.
Saban’s decision to leave Tuscaloosa comes two days after defensive coordinator Kevin Steele made a decision to retire. With Saban stepping down, the transfer portal will open for Alabama players for the next 30 days.
If this is indeed the end of Saban’s head coaching career, he finishes with a record of 292-70-1.
“This is one of the most amazing seasons in Alabama football history in terms of where this team came from, what they were able to accomplish and what they were able to do, winning the SEC Championship, and really, really proud of this group,” he said after the Rose Bowl loss.
“I just wish that I could have done more as a coach to help them be successful and help them finish, and all we can do now is learn from the lessons that sometimes failings bring to us.”
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