After 51 years of coaching, including 17 as the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, legendary football coach Nick Saban has announced his retirement, according to ESPN.
Saban won seven national titles in his career, the most of any head coach in the sport’s history, winning his first at LSU in 2003 and six at Alabama between 2009 and 2020.
Saban’s retirement announcement comes days after the conclusion of the 2023-2024 National Championship Game in which the Michigan Wolverines beat the Washington Huskies, 34-13. The Wolverines defeated Saban’s Crimson Tide in the Rose Bowl the week before, 27-20.
Saban began his coaching career immediately after his days as a player ended, starting as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Kent State, in 1973.
From there, Saban quickly rose through the coaching ranks, moving to an on-field role in 1975 and becoming the defensive coordinator at Michigan State in 1983. After a brief stint in the NFL with the Houston Oilers, Saban became the head coach at Toledo for one season in 1990.
Saban bounced between the NFL and college ranks multiple times in his career, finding far more success at the latter than the former. Saban was head coach at Michigan State and LSU for five years each, winning a national title with the Tigers in 2003.
Saban was originally best known for his tough defenses, winning titles in 2003, 2009, 2011 and 2012 on the backs of his stingy defensive squads and power running games. However, he was able to pivot in the mid-2010s to a more modern offense, successfully winning titles with high-scoring attacks in 2015, 2017 and 2020.
With Saban’s retirement, which comes just days after defensive coordinator Kevin Steele also walked away, the Crimson Tide will move to replace a legend. The job is one of the most prestigious in college football, and the Crimson Tide will likely have the ability to lure nearly any coach they please.
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