Nick Saban has been the head football coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide for almost seven full seasons. It’s hard to imagine him applying his skills anywhere else at this point, but there has been much speculation that he might defect to the Texas Longhorns if incumbent head coach Mack Brown is fired or steps down.
Don’t blame UT for desiring the 62-year-old, as Saban has been successful at each of his stops in the college ranks. He would undoubtedly be able to turn the Longhorns around and mold them back into a national title contender, utilizing both the X's and O's as well as bringing in top recruits from across the nation.
The Longhorns job is also a high-profile one that offers Saban the unprecedented opportunity to claim a national title with a third school. He’s already the only man in the Associated Press poll era (beginning in 1936) to win championships with two different programs.
Saban notably won the 2003 championship with LSU, claimed three titles (2009, 2011, 2012) during his tenure in Tuscaloosa and would be a favorite to add a fifth BCS Championship to his resume in Austin.
While all of this sounds glamorous, the signs point to Saban remaining with ‘Bama for the foreseeable future.
Senior quarterback AJ McCarron—who has spent the last five years forging a strong relationship with the coach—recently spoke on the subject during an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter program this past Thursday, Dec. 12 (via Michael Casagrande of Al.com)
When the signal-caller was asked if he thought Saban would jump ship, he had this to say:
I don't think Miss Terry [Saban, the coach’s wife] would allow him. Miss Terry is happy there and I always joke with coach about Miss Terry runs the house. But coach loves it there and I don't see coach trying to go to another program and built it all back up. He did that at Alabama, first at LSU, now at Alabama. I think coach is happy where he's at.
McCarron went on to note that he confronted Saban about the Texas rumors a while back and was told by the coach that he would not be going anywhere, adding that Saban had never told a lie since he’s known him.
NFL.com’s Gil Brandt noted that Saban also has a major financial reason to remain in Tuscaloosa. The university has offered him a contract extension worth something in the $7 million per year range, which would make him far and away the highest-paid collegiate head coach.
|Highest Paid College Head Coaches in 2013|
|Name||School||Total Pay||2013 Record|
|1. Nick Saban||Alabama||$5,545,852||11-1|
|2. Mack Brown||Texas||$5,453,750||8-4|
|3. Bret Bielema||Arkansas||$5,158,863||3-9|
|4. Butch Jones||Tennessee||$4,860,000||5-7|
|5. Bob Stoops||Oklahoma||$4,773,167||10-2|
|6. Urban Meyer||Ohio State||$4,608,000||12-1|
|7. Les Miles||LSU||$4,459,363||9-3|
|8. Brady Hoke||Michigan||$4,154,000||7-5|
|9. Kirk Ferentz||Iowa||$3,985,000||8-4|
|10. Charlie Strong||Louisville||$3,738,500||11-1|
On top of his wife and the money, Saban has the chance to become legendary. He will already be mentioned in the same breath as Paul “Bear” Bryant—the legendary coach that brought six national titles to Alabama—and could go down as the greatest ever.
His Tide were a field goal away from a third straight national title appearance—they will have to settle for a Sugar Bowl appearance after that Iron Bowl loss—and you can be sure they will be back with a vengeance in 2014, just in time for the first year of BCS playoffs.
Saban’s legacy at Alabama will continue to grow over the next few years and his dynasty will be remembered as one of the most impressive feats in the modern era. He would be foolish to abandon that to try and rebuild a mediocre Texas squad. Don’t expect it to happen, as much as the Longhorns would like it to.