College Football
Legendary Alabama coach Nick Saban announces retirement
College Football

Legendary Alabama coach Nick Saban announces retirement

Updated Jan. 10, 2024 8:22 p.m. ET

Nick Saban is ending his historic coaching career at Alabama.

The Crimson Tide head coach is retiring, the school announced Wednesday, confirming reports from ESPN and FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman

"The University of Alabama has been a very special place to Terry and me," Saban said in a statement. "We have enjoyed every minute of our 17 years being the head coach at Alabama as well as becoming a part of the Tuscaloosa community. It is not just about how many games we won and lost, but it's about the legacy and how we went about it. 

"We always tried to do it the right way. The goal was always to help players create more value for their future, be the best player they could be and be more successful in life because they were part of the program. Hopefully, we have done that, and we will always consider Alabama our home."


Saban, 72, is the most decorated coach in the history of college football and arguably one of the greatest coaches in the history of North American sports. He won seven national championships over his 28 years as a college football head coach, edging out fellow Alabama coach Bear Bryant for the most of all-time by one. 

Saban spent most of his head coaching career at Alabama, achieving unprecedented success over his 17 years at the helm. After being hired by the school in 2007, Saban led the Crimson Tide to six national titles and nine SEC championships. Additionally, Saban led Alabama to the College Football Playoff eight times in the 10 seasons of the four-team era. 

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The latest College Football Playoff trip for Alabama ended in disappointment, though. The Tide fell to No. 1 Michigan, 27-20, in overtime at the Rose Bowl. The Wolverines won the national title Monday night. 

In the days following Alabama's season-ending loss, Saban indicated he wasn't set to retire this offseason. He didn't state any future plans in Wednesday's press release. 

"Simply put, Nick Saban is one of the greatest coaches of all time, in any sport, and The University of Alabama is fortunate to have had him leading our football program for the past 17 seasons," Alabama Director of Athletics Greg Byrne added in the statement. "Throughout his career as a head coach, his teams have won seven national championships, 11 conference championships and 312 games, and he's developed an NCAA-record 49 NFL first-round draft picks and, most importantly, hundreds of college graduates. He is the consummate coach, mentor and leader, and his impact is felt far beyond the football field.

"Coach Saban and Ms. Terry have touched countless lives in our community and the state of Alabama with the work they've done through the Nick's Kids Foundation. While his time as our coach may have come to an end, his legacy will live on forever. What an honor it has been for us to have a front-row seat to one of the best to ever do it. A truly remarkable career for Coach Saban."

Prior to joining Alabama in 2007, Saban's other stops as a college football head coach were Toledo (1990), Michigan State (1995-99) and LSU (2000-04). Saban won his first title while at LSU, leading his squad to an upset win over Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl at the end of the 2003 season. 

Nick Saban retiring after 17 seasons with Alabama | Speak

Saban briefly dipped his toes as a head coach in the NFL, signing on to become the Miami Dolphins head coach in 2005. But Saban wasn't able to accomplish the same success at the professional level that he did in the college game, going 9-7 in his first season before going 6-10 in 2006. He resigned in the days following the Dolphins' final game of the 2006 season to accept the Alabama, job, replacing Mike Shula.

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Saban's decision to leave Tuscaloosa comes two days after defensive coordinator Kevin Steele made a decision to retire. With Saban stepping down, the transfer portal will open for Alabama players for the next 30 days. 

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If this is indeed the end of Saban's head coaching career, he finishes with a record of 292-70-1. 

"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," Saban said after the Rose Bowl loss.

"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."

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