Most of the college football world may want otherwise, but Nick Saban will avoid an abyss he is sure would follow a retirement. He spoke of it recently with a conviction equal to the passion he shows when coaching his players.
In a manner similar to a Dylan Thomas refrain of not going gently, Saban, at the mere thought of retirement, demanded to know “retire for what?” There are other things in Nick Saban’s life besides football, but there is nothing in his current and future life to replace football.
It truly is that simple and no one knows it better than Saban. Saban knows the ‘abyss’ would follow coaching football. Whether he thinks of the abyss as a bottomless chasm, or as a good Catholic, thinks of it in its biblical definition, as a “realm of demonic spirits” does not matter. Nick Saban wants no part of either.
Alabama football fans rejoice every time the R-word is mentioned to Saban, and he disdainfully refutes consideration of it. It does not come up because there are the slightest indications the GOAT has slipped in any way. It keeps coming up because so many coaches and so many fans of so many ‘other’ schools dream for the day Nick Saban retires.
Physically and mentally, Nick Saban is stronger than many men who are younger by a decade or more. He is not slowing down. He is not letting up. He still wants his guys to impose their will and make the other guys quit.
As he had said before, he does not remember all the wins, but he remembers in great detail all the losses. They fuel his apparently undepletable resolve.
Every other SEC coach must believe Nick Saban cannot last forever. They are correct. Saban is human and at some distant point in time, there will be a transition. About a year ago, we suggested Alabama should give Saban a lifetime contract. It would be mostly symbolic because his contract extensions will happen whenever, and for as long, as he wishes. But a lifetime contact would allow Saban to honestly state he will never, not be involved, in Alabama football.
Plus it would be a slap in the face of the opposing coaches who are convinced they will outlast him. Most of them probably know they can’t outwork Saban or out-think him. With only an occasional rare and impermanent exception, they can’t out-coach him. All that is left is to outlive him.
Rage, rage Nick – Alabama fans love you for it.