Nick Saban, Alabama's iconic head coach, announces retirement

Tuscaloosa, Alabama - Nick Saban, the record-breaking coach of Alabama's storied college football team, announced on Wednesday that he is retiring.

Legendary University of Alabama college football coach Nick Saban has announced he is retiring.
Legendary University of Alabama college football coach Nick Saban has announced he is retiring.  © USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Connect

Saban (72) has won an unmatched seven national titles during his career with six of them coming during a dynastic reign with The University of Alabama's Crimson Tide.

This season, Saban's 17th in charge of the team, ended with defeat in the College Football Playoff Semifinal to eventual champions Michigan.

For close to a decade, rumors about Coach Saban's retirement have been consistent, and have ramped up in the last month.

"The University of Alabama has been a very special place to (my wife) Terry and me," Saban said in a statement on the team's website.

"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," he said.

Nick Saban's storied coaching career

Nick Saban led Alabama to win seven national titles during his tenure has head coach.
Nick Saban led Alabama to win seven national titles during his tenure has head coach.  © USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Connect

Saban spent most of his career in the college game although he had two, mostly disappointing seasons as head coach of the Miami Dolphins before joining Alabama.

Saban had made his name Michigan State before taking charge of Louisiana State University, winning the national title in 2003.

But it is his time with Alabama that he will be best remembered for, as he led the program to winning seasons in every season since 2008 and helped produce four Heisman Trophy winners.

Known as a fiery competitor and a strict disciplinarian, Saban's animated approach on the sideline allied to the results gained made him a hero for the team's fans, and a statue to him was placed on campus in 2011.

Saban's Alabama became a production line of NFL players with 123 players, so far, having moved from his progam to be selected by NFL teams.

In this year's NFL playoffs, Alabama products feature on 13 of the 14 teams with 36 former Crimson Tide players on the active roster, practice squad, or injured reserve of playoff teams.

Nick Saban hailed as the GOAT

Alongside the national titles, Saban won 11 championships in the highly-competitive Southeastern Conference (SEC).

"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," said Alabama Director of Athletics Greg Byrne.

"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," he said.

Running back Mark Ingram, who became the first Alabama player to win the Heisman in 2009 having been part of Saban's championship winning team that year, paid tribute to the coach, calling him the GOAT – greatest of all-time.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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