Alabama Football: Will Nick Saban fulfill his extended contract

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Alabama Football will never be the same without Nick Saban. The same was said about Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant. And it wasn’t, though the late Ray Perkins and Bill Curry can’t be faulted for trying.

The life of Alabama Football after Nick Saban got pushed out this week with a contract extension that carries Saban until February 2029. Nick Saban will turn 77 during the 2028 season. No one outside of Nick and Terry Saban knows if Nick will coach the Alabama Crimson Tide through 2028. The Sabans probably don’t yet know if 2028 is too soon or too late. More than a few Alabama Crimson Tide fans would bet college football’s greatest coach ever will not retire before he turns 80. That would make the 2031 season Saban’s last.

Back in 2007, it was widely claimed Saban would leave Tuscaloosa for the NFL within three seasons. That and other foolishness has linked Saban to Texas on at least two occasions. All that nonsense has faded as the rest of college football has realized what Tide fans have known for years. Nick Saban’s last coaching stop will be the University of Alabama. Unlike other Saban contracts, comments of a buyout clause did not warrant any media coverage.

Nick Saban has nothing left to prove as a football coach. An unexpected downturn in his health could escalate his retirement. Another reason to step down would be Nick deciding he can no longer accomplish the high standard he sets for himself.

Alabama Football Head Coaching Records

There are some fun future possibilities to consider if Saban goes to 2028 or later. Bryant had 323 wins in 38 seasons as a head coach. Nick Saban has 261 wins in 25 seasons. The chances of Saban passing Bryant only matters to Crimson Tide fans. Chasing Bryant, Bowden (44 seasons) and Paterno (46 seasons) might be important to members of Saban’s family but probably not to Nick or Terry.

Saban could pass Bryant’s record of 232 Crimson Tide victories before the latest contract runs out. Saban will have finished his 22nd Alabama Football season then, three short of Bryant’s 25 in Tuscaloosa. To do so will require averaging almost eight SEC wins per season.

Two months ago, we stated it was time to give Nick Saban a lifetime contract. He has certainly earned it, but Alabama law does not recognize such terms. Instead, contract extensions both honor Saban and to a degree combat opposing coaches telling recruits Saban’s retirement will happen before the end of their college careers.

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Some will measure the new extension by dollars in Nick Saban’s pocket. What Nick and Terry Saban have meant to the University of Alabama, the city of Tuscaloosa and the state of Alabama is immeasurable.