Alabama Football: Counting on Nick Saban to coach a long time

Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football head coach, Nick Saban has often said the pursuit of excellence does not offer many choices. He means the work essential to success does not reside in shades of gray. It requires a full and unwavering commitment, coupled with the discipline to execute it. For years opposing coaches have told recruits that Saban is near retirement. With each season the claim appears to gain traction.

Nick Saban will turn 72 during the 2023 Alabama football season.

In order to answer questions from recruiting prospects and their family members, Saban must provide answers about his longevity. Before those answers, Nick Saban has to make a choice about how long he intends to coach. For him, it is apparently a choice he can easily and gladly make. During the last couple of years, he has clearly stated the ‘how long’ is however long his body will let him.

Given his excellent health, that could mean many more seasons. It is almost inconceivable to think those many more seasons will be anywhere but Tuscaloosa, AL.

Will Nick Saban coach well into his 80s? Assuming his health situation does not significantly change, Nick Saban will likely coach past the age when Bobby Bowden retired. Bobby Bowden retired in 2009, after 40 seasons as a head coach. He was 80 when he stepped away.

Two more college football coaching legends lasted longer than Bowden. Joe Paterno was Penn State’s head coach for 46 seasons when he was fired at the age of 84. A scandal cost Paterno his job. Otherwise, Penn State would have probably allowed him to coach for life.

Amos Alonzo Stagg was a head coach from 1890 through 1946, when he was fired by Pacific at the age of 90. Stagg continued to coach with a son for another six seasons. He fully retired at 96 and lived to be 102.

How long as Alabama Football Head Coach?

It is not hard to believe Nick Saban can perform up to his own demanding standards for another decade. That would move him past Bowden’s retirement age and give Saban 37 seasons as a college football head coach. Maybe he can and will go even longer.

Many Alabama football fans would relish Saban putting in at least another 10 seasons in Tuscaloosa. Ten more would move Saban past Bear Bryant’s 25 seasons at Alabama. For older fans, Bryant’s exceptional history has not dimmed. But considering how many times it was said Saban would leave Alabama after no more than five seasons, a record-setting tenure would be satisfying.

According to 2025 5-Star prospect, Ryan Williams, Saban is,

"going to coach until he croaks … and he has got some time."

It sounds as though Williams expects many more seasons from Saban.

Only 12 Power Fives the Tide has never played. dark. Next

Over two seasons ago, I stated Alabama should give Nick Saban a lifetime contract. Other than some state law nonsense, there is no good reason, not to do so.