Alabama Football: Remember when Nick Saban was a job-hopper

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

When Mal Moore convinced Terry Saban, who convinced Nick Saban to join Alabama football, there was a repeated claim. College football experts and fans of other programs prophesized Saban would remain in Tuscaloosa for less than five years.

Terry Saban enjoying living in Tuscaloosa, and the University giving Nick the keys and nearly unlimited resources, destroyed that premise.

Few other schools and few other coaches have experienced such stability.

A primary reason why there is so much head coaching turnover is the high salaries many jobs demand. In 2007, 13 FBS head coaches earned $2M or more. Nick Saban was the trendsetter at what would now be a bargain price of $4M.

In 2022, to place in the top 10 of college head coaching salaries requires making more than $7M a year. Six guys are making $9M or more. Whether it is believed the salaries are insanely high or appropriate to the demands of the jobs does not matter. With the BIG dollars has come an overall reduction in job security.

Twenty years ago, most ADs were prepared to give a new football head coach four seasons to build a program. Before that going back to the Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant era, a prospective head coach routinely told ADs it took five seasons to build a program. Those days will never return.

Short of off-the-field problems or bizarre personal behavior, today’s coaches usually have a two-season window to win.

Recently writing for On3, Mike Huguenin reported the average tenure for the current 131 FBS head coaches is 3.7 years. In 29 of the 131 programs (with James Madison new for the 2022 season), there are new head coaches.

Alabama Football – Nick Saban and Longevity

Contrary to the 2007 claims about Nick Saban, the Alabama football head man is one of the longest-tenured head coaches in FBS football. The longest is Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz at 23 seasons for the Hawkeyes. Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State and Kyle Whittingham at Utah have been in their jobs for 17 seasons. Rick Stockstill at Middle Tennesse State and Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern are next at 16 seasons. Tied at 6th with 15 seasons of longevity are Troy Calhoun at Air Force and Nick Saban.

Six months ago, a prediction was offered Nick Saban would be at Alabama through at least the 2026 season. It is a good bet Nick will not miss out on the Tide’s trip to Morgantown, WV in September 2026.

dark. Next. The 'stick-wth-it-ness' of Nick Saban

As was said in the same post, also a good bet is Saban will coach through his current Alabama football contract that runs through the 2028 season.