Alabama football has one of the “older” coaches in college football. How old is too old? More importantly, does age and Saban matter?
Bob Stoops stepped down at Oklahoma this week and 33-year old Lincoln Riley was named as Stoops’ replacement. After 18 seasons as the Head Coach of the Sooners, Stoops is retiring at the age of 56.
Bob Stoops had often said he would not coach until he was 60. He had a good reason. Bob Stoops father, died of a heart-attack at the age of 54. The elder Stoops was coaching during a football game when he collapsed on the sideline. He died before he could be transported to a hospital.
The immediate media spin about the Stoops retirement was about Riley being the youngest head coach in college football.
Mitch Sherman, ESPN Staff Writer brought some good perspective to the age angle.
Stoops was 38 when he coached his first game at Oklahoma. Barry Switzer, who won three national championships with the Sooners, was 35 when he took over. Legendary coach Bud Wilkinson was 31.
And that should end any questions about Riley being too young to lead a top program.
Closer to home, Alabama football fans are not worried about a coach being too young. Our concern is at what age will Nick Saban decide to exit the gridiron. Saban is a young 65. He gives every appearance of being capable of coaching for another decade or longer.
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There are older coaches currently leading FBS teams. Kansas State’s Bill Snyder is 75. Frank Solich of Ohio U. is 72. Butch Davis is returning to head coaching at Florida International, at the age of 66. Rocky Long is the same age and a few months ago received a five-year extension.
To define the upper end of the range of ‘how old is too old’ – Amos Alonzo Stagg coached until he was 96 and he didn’t die doing it. Stagg passed away at 102.
The other more recent barometers are Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden. Both coached into their 80’s and most fans will agree they should have stepped down a little sooner.
Nick Saban gives no indication he wants to do anything else nearly as much as he wants to coach football. Speaking in advance of golf event to raise money for Nick’s Kids, this is how Nick responded to a ‘how long’ question, compliments of Rick Karle, WBRC.
Are you a college football fan? You will want to check out Nick Saban's honest and open thoughts on when he might call it a career. Coach Saban headlined the Nick's Kids golf outing today at Old Overton, and he was asked in the wake of the Bob Stoops retirement if he has a timetable for his future. If you are a Bama fan you can breath easy: Take a look & listen why, and give this post a "like" & share with a friend if you enjoy Coach Saban's comments. Thanks to Christina Chambers & Brian Pope for the interview!
Posted by Rick Karle WBRC on Thursday, June 8, 2017
That suits Alabama football fans fine. In life, everything has an ending. Nick Saban has earned the prerogative to pick his own Alabama football ending.
Just as long as it is not anytime soon.
Speaking of Saban at 65 – the man appears in every way to have just turned 50. That is almost as remarkable as his coaching accomplishments.