Given what he has accomplished in his coaching career, it’s understandable that Nick Saban would be at the top of nearly every athletic director or NFL general manager’s wish list to fill a coaching vacancy.
Even though his Alabama team is focused on chasing another national title, the future of the Crimson Tide’s coach has once again managed to become a hot topic after reports circulated of the Cleveland Browns potential interest in him (h/t Matt Scalici, al.com).
It is worth noting that Saban’s contract with Alabama was extended in March and runs through 2020—with his salary averaging roughly $5.6 million per season over the course of the deal, per Don Kausler, Jr. of al.com.
According to a report from the Associated Press, Saban turned down other opportunities after leading Alabama to its second national title in January while also stating his desire to finish his career at the Capstone (via ESPN)
From my standpoint, the acceptance of this extension represents our commitment ... to the University of Alabama for the rest of our career, Saban said. "We made that decision after the season when other people were interested.
Of course people will be interested and tempted enough to put out feelers gauging Saban’s interest, but why would he want to leave Alabama anyway?
While contract extensions have never stopped teams from poaching coaches, a lucrative bump in salary—which is a huge factor for most coaches when making a move—seems to be a non-issue given Saban’s recent raise and Alabama’s commitment to him.
Even considering that Saban has some history in the Browns organization serving as Bill Belichick’s defensive coordinator from 1991-95, there is a reason that he abruptly departed his most recent stint in the NFL and returned to the college game.
For starters, his hands-on and controlling approach has proven to be wildly successful in college as opposed to his pedestrian results in the NFL.
Saban left a juggernaut he built at LSU for the Miami Dolphins job and lasted just two years (2005-06) before revisiting the college game and orchestrating a return to glory for the Tide program.
The biggest reason that Saban will stay put is because after years of bouncing around from job to job, he has finally settled in one place long enough to see what his vision is truly capable of when it is firing on all cylinders.
Alabama is in the midst of a run that looks similar to what Bear Bryant was able to accomplish in the 1970s, when the Tide racked up at least 10 wins in eight seasons while capturing three national titles.
At age 60, it simply does not make sense for him to leave a program with a promising future in favor of another rebuilding project in the NFL or at another school.
The Browns may be the first team to start up the chatter of potentially trying to lure him away, but publicly or privately, they will not be the last.
Do not expect anyone to successfully pry away the most prominent coach in the BCS era from Alabama.