Nick “GOAT” Saban Calls It A Career, And These Coaches Are First Up To Take Over A College Football Empire

Nine days after the Alabama Crimson Tide came up short in its quest to win its seventh national championship, legendary coach Nick Saban announced his retirement from college football.

The loss didn’t seem to bother Saban like most, and in many ways that was a sign that just maybe the legendary sideline stalker was contemplating walking away.

The news, which caught most by surprise, really hit the Crimson Tide faithful. The 72-year-old, who many feel did his best coaching job leading an Alabama team not picked to reach the CFP to an SEC championship and a controversial berth in the CFP, released a statement announcing the decision. 

Saban Shocks CFB World

“The University of Alabama has been a very special place to Terry and me,” Saban said in a statement Wednesday. “We enjoyed every minute of our 17 years being the head coach at Alabama as well as becoming part of the Tuscaloosa community. It is not just about how many games we won and lost, but it’s about the legacy and how we went about it. The goal was always to help players create more value for their future, be the best player they could be and be more successful in life because they were part of the program.

“Hopefully, we have done that, and we will always consider Alabama our home.”

Saban has done more than that, his six national championships at the legendary school are tied with Paul “Bear” Bryant, but Saban has seven overall, as he won one at LSU in 2003. His nine SEC championships are second to Bryant’s 13, Saban did his work in 17 seasons, while Bryant’s time in Tuscaloosa spanned 25 seasons. 

Saban’s overall record at Alabama (206-29, including 117-18 in the SEC) will never be matched. He had 44 players taken as first-round NFL draft picks and is the only college coach to have a first-round pick at all 22 positions on the field among his former players. He truly created a dynasty, which was still going strong despite many writing them off time after time.

In his 28 years as a head coach Saban went 292-71-1

What Caused Saban To Retire, Who Will Replace Him?

A myriad of things likely played a role in Saban’s decision, with the new era of college football being a huge component in the end result. Saban has gone on record many times talking about the transfer portal and NIL, and how it needed to some legislation behind it. When he spoke about you could tell he wasn’t a fan of it, and in many ways that pushed him out. 

Add in his age and the desire to do other things in life, and that’s why he called it quits. 

Replacing a legend is never easy, but athletics director Greg Byrne is now tasked with that tough job. His first call has to be to Clemson head coach, former Alabama player and member of the 1992 championship team Dabo Swinney. 

Next up should be a call to Eugene, Oregon, and Dan Lanning, a rising star in the coaching ranks who was a graduate assistant under Saban and former defensive coordinator for Georgia’s Kirby Smart. 

Third, Byrne has to put a flyer out for Ole Miss head coach and former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.

Those are the top three, and after that it’s not obvious where to turn. Byrne has to hope one of those coaches still sees Alabama as a place they can win and win big. 

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