Yesterday, friend and colleague Barrett Sallee talked about Nick Saban deserving to be the nation's highest paid coach over at the Bleacher Report's SEC Blog. Saban recently received a pay bump as did his assistants. Great move by Alabama to show their appreciation for the coach who has now netted them two BCS Championships during his five seasons in Tuscaloosa.
In short, the man from West Virginia, son of high school football coach, has done himself good in the college football world. In recent history, he has been the cream of the college football crop; three national titles, two BCS bowl games and a host of guys sent on to the NFL. He's won plenty of recruiting national titles too, if you're into that sort of thing.
The coach has done it all his way. His staff is his staff; when one guy leaves for greener pastures then Saban replaces him with a quality coach who can get the job done. Saban's helped groom the head coaches at Tennessee, Florida and Florida State. He has a healthy coaching tree; Kirby Smart appears poised to be the next big hire in the coming years.
Everything the man has touched in college football has turned to gold. LSU has not looked back since he fixed their program in the early 2000's, and now, in Tuscaloosa the Sabans are putting down roots. In the midst of all the contract extension and the new raise talks, Nick Saban dropped a nugget that was more important than any of the dollar signs flying around.
"From my standpoint, the acceptance of this extension represents our commitment —my commitment, our family's commitment—to the University of Alabama for the rest of our career."
The man who folks love to bash for taking off from LSU for the Dolphins, or leaving the Dolphins to take the Alabama job, has decided to stay at Alabama. Sure, you can be skeptical all you like, Saban's proven in the past that upward mobility is what he is all about. But, the fact of the matter is why would he leave? Where would he even go?
With the way Alabama is churning out wins, 55-12 during Saban's tenure, and pulling in cash, is there anywhere else in the landscape for the coach to do better? Only a handful of jobs on the collegiate landscape have the resources necessary to be considered "the best job in the game." As it stands right now, Alabama is that job and Saban's plans to stay mean it will remain at the top.
Look across the college football world; LSU, USC, Texas, Ohio State, Florida and a couple other jobs are the ones who might rival the gig Saban has now. He most certainly is not going back to LSU. Southern Cal has their guy in Lane Kiffin and Saban has never been a West Coast coach.
Texas may be appetizing in the future, but with the way he is rolling, why leave? Ohio State is a great job but pulls him out of the South where he has really found his recruiting niche where athletes are concerned. Florida is a great job, but like Texas, why go there when you already have the world?
Saban made a smart move to pledge his allegiance to the University of Alabama. The man's already got a statue on campus and the folks in Tuscaloosa are among the nation's most thankful fanbases when it comes to relishing in his successes.
Saban has matched up with a group of people—fans, administration, community—that wants to win as badly as he does. Saban does what he's good at—play defense, get high quality recruits and win football games.
Alabama rewards him with boatloads of money and the freedom to run his program his way. Now, Saban has started to pay Alabama back in more than just wins and titles, he's paying them back with his decision to stay.