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At Age 72, College Football Coaching Legend Nick Saban Retires

Isaac Tiomkin

Alabama Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban after a Victory over Georgia in 2021


When considering someone as the greatest, people frequently just consider players. However, attaining the title of greatest as a coach is a far more daunting task and arguably an even more prestigious title. Nick Saban most certainly achieved this title within the world of college football. As of January 10, 2024, Saban, the iconic head coach of the University of Alabama's Crimson Tide football team, announced his retirement. This marked an end to the career of a phenomenal coach, one who is revered by those who follow the sport. When he finally made the announcement, the room was enveloped in a sorrowful atmosphere, yet the surge of gratefulness from the alumni as well as the teary-eyed players was felt by everyone.


Saban began his head coaching career at Toledo in 1990 and later found success at Michigan State and Louisiana State University. In fact, from 2004 to 2006 he even coached the Miami Dolphins, an NFL team. Saban led his final and most noteworthy school, the University of Alabama, to six national championships and revitalized its football program. Before his arrival, the football program was at an all-time low. They failed to address their players’ needs and were consistently barraged with NCAA sanctions, nearly receiving a one-year ban in 2002. When Saban arrived in 2007, he immediately whipped the team into shape. He molded his players into football machines that could physically compete with the best collegiate athletes day after day. He engineered the team to national championships in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, and 2020.


The 72-year-old coach, known for his unparalleled success and unwavering commitment to excellence, expressed gratitude for his time at Alabama. "It's been an incredible journey, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the University of Alabama family," Saban said. "The decision to retire was not an easy one, but I believe it is the right time for me and for the program to embrace new leadership." Saban’s career is one that can most certainly be considered breathtaking, with his lifetime college football record being 292-71-1. During his tenure at Alabama, Saban transformed the Crimson Tide into a powerhouse, instilling a lasting culture of discipline, hard work, and excellence. 


His coaching philosophy not only produced remarkable on-field success but also shaped the lives of countless young athletes. Under Saban's guidance, Alabama became synonymous with championship football. The University could once again find a source of pride in being home to one of the greatest, if not the greatest, collegiate football programs in history. Saban’s ceaseless pursuit of perfection and meticulous attention to detail earned him the nickname "The Process," a moniker that became emblematic of his coaching legacy. 


As the warm Alabama sun sets on this era of college football, one question remains. Will the chants of “Roll Tide” die out through the night, or will there be another who can take up the torch and lead Alabama just as Saban has for the past 17 years? The man who will decide that answer is Kalen DeBoer, a coaching transfer from Fresno State. Football fans across the world, do not blink. History is being written.

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