Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Alabama's Nick Saban Calls It Quits. Is He College Football's GOAT?
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 3 months ago on
January 11, 2024

Share

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Nick Saban’s coaching reign has come to an end. His dominance over college football, however, will forever linger in the lore of the sport.

Saban, who won seven national championships — more than any other major college football coach — and turned Alabama back into a national powerhouse with six of those titles in just 17 seasons, is retiring, according to multiple outlets.

The 72-year-old Saban restored a Crimson Tide program once ruled by Paul “Bear” Bryant to the top of college football after taking over in 2007.

His decision to step away was reported Wednesday, first by ESPN and then by other outlets, ending a career that has produced numerous titles and helped launch or relaunch the head coaching careers of Georgia’s Kirby Smith, Texas’ Steve Sarkisian, and Mississippi’s Lane Kiffin.

‘College Football Just Lost the GOAT to Retirement,’ Says Deion Sanders

He finished just shy of the top in his final season, leading the Tide from a shaky start to a Southeastern Conference championship and back into the College Football Playoff before falling in overtime to Michigan in a semifinal game at the Rose Bowl.

Saban led the Tide to nine Southeastern Conference championships and won his first national title at Alabama with a 14-0 season in 2009. Titles came again in 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2020. He also won the SEC with LSU in 2001 and 2003.

Colorado coach Deion Sanders, who has appeared with Saban in a series of commercials, had a strong reaction to both the Alabama coach’s retirement and the state of college football.

“WOW! College Football just lost the GOAT to retirement,” Sanders posted on X. “WOW! I knew it would happen 1 day soon but not this soon. The game has change so much that it chased the GOAT away. College football let’s hold up our mirrors and say HONESTLY what u see.”

Saban Turned Alabama’s Football Program Into Powerhouse

Saban made a two-year foray into the NFL with the Miami Dolphins before returning to college football to revive one of college football’s most storied programs, which hadn’t won a national title in 15 years. Saban is 297-71-1 as a college head coach, with stops at Toledo, Michigan State, and LSU, where he also won a national title. But Alabama is where he cemented his status as one of college football’s greatest coaches.

Saban coached Alabama’s first four Heisman Trophy winners and churned out numerous NFL players, going 206-29, a winning clip of 87.7%. His teams produced 44 first-round draft picks, including last year’s No. 1 quarterback Bryce Young.

During that span, he also adapted to the changing times of up-tempo offenses, churning out high-scoring teams after winning with some of the nation’s best defenses, along with the new NIL and transfer rules.

He led Toledo to a Mid-American Conference championship in 1990, his lone season as that program’s head coach. Saban worked as Bill Belichick’s defensive coordinator with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns for four seasons before becoming the first Michigan State coach to lead his first three teams to bowl games and then taking LSU to the 2003 national title.

His latest team dealt with plenty of adversity early on, including a loss to Texas, but rebounded with the emergence of quarterback Jalen Milroe to upset then-No. 1 Georgia in the SEC championship game.

Saban Proud of Final Season

Saban didn’t sound like a coach looking to give up the job any time soon after the game. But it wasn’t a bad way to go, even without the title.

“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.

“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.”

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Fresno-Madera United Way Launches National Search for New CEO

DON'T MISS

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

DON'T MISS

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

DON'T MISS

Why Tortillas Sold in California May Be Forced to Add a New Ingredient

DON'T MISS

Costco Tries Again at City Council for Big NW Fresno Move

DON'T MISS

Scheffler Turns the Masters Into Another Sunday Yawner With a Dominating Win

DON'T MISS

Ethiopia’s Lemma Wins, Fresno’s Albertson 7th in Boston Marathon. Kenya’s Obiri Retains Women Title.

DON'T MISS

Vegas, US Tour and More Signings: Wrexham Has Plenty of Fun and Work Ahead After Latest Promotion

DON'T MISS

This Week’s Weather Will Take Us from Fleece to Flip-Flops

DON'T MISS

NBA Play-in Game Preview: West Games on Tuesday, East Games on Wednesday, Eliminations on Friday

UP NEXT

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

UP NEXT

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

UP NEXT

Why Tortillas Sold in California May Be Forced to Add a New Ingredient

UP NEXT

Costco Tries Again at City Council for Big NW Fresno Move

UP NEXT

Scheffler Turns the Masters Into Another Sunday Yawner With a Dominating Win

UP NEXT

Ethiopia’s Lemma Wins, Fresno’s Albertson 7th in Boston Marathon. Kenya’s Obiri Retains Women Title.

UP NEXT

Vegas, US Tour and More Signings: Wrexham Has Plenty of Fun and Work Ahead After Latest Promotion

UP NEXT

This Week’s Weather Will Take Us from Fleece to Flip-Flops

UP NEXT

NBA Play-in Game Preview: West Games on Tuesday, East Games on Wednesday, Eliminations on Friday

UP NEXT

Palestinian Supporters Block Golden Gate Bridge, Chicago’s O’Hare Airport

Why Tortillas Sold in California May Be Forced to Add a New Ingredient

2 hours ago

Costco Tries Again at City Council for Big NW Fresno Move

3 hours ago

Scheffler Turns the Masters Into Another Sunday Yawner With a Dominating Win

3 hours ago

Ethiopia’s Lemma Wins, Fresno’s Albertson 7th in Boston Marathon. Kenya’s Obiri Retains Women Title.

3 hours ago

Vegas, US Tour and More Signings: Wrexham Has Plenty of Fun and Work Ahead After Latest Promotion

3 hours ago

This Week’s Weather Will Take Us from Fleece to Flip-Flops

Weather /

3 hours ago

NBA Play-in Game Preview: West Games on Tuesday, East Games on Wednesday, Eliminations on Friday

3 hours ago

Palestinian Supporters Block Golden Gate Bridge, Chicago’s O’Hare Airport

3 hours ago

Biden’s Embrace of Trump’s Tariffs Could Spell Trouble for His Reelection: Fareed Zakaria

4 hours ago

Ship That Caused Bridge Collapse Had Apparent Electrical Issues While Still Docked, Source Says

4 hours ago

Fresno-Madera United Way Launches National Search for New CEO

The United Way Fresno and Madera Counties has launched a national search for a new president and CEO after the resignation of longtime chief...
Local /

36 mins ago

Local /
36 mins ago

Fresno-Madera United Way Launches National Search for New CEO

60 mins ago

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

1 hour ago

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

2 hours ago

Why Tortillas Sold in California May Be Forced to Add a New Ingredient

3 hours ago

Costco Tries Again at City Council for Big NW Fresno Move

3 hours ago

Scheffler Turns the Masters Into Another Sunday Yawner With a Dominating Win

3 hours ago

Ethiopia’s Lemma Wins, Fresno’s Albertson 7th in Boston Marathon. Kenya’s Obiri Retains Women Title.

3 hours ago

Vegas, US Tour and More Signings: Wrexham Has Plenty of Fun and Work Ahead After Latest Promotion

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend