Alabama Football: Nick Saban and Mark Stoops lead SEC coaches

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

For many years, Alabama Football Head Coach, Nick Saban has proved doubters wrong. When he returned to SEC football for the 2007 season, it was widely claimed Saban at Alabama would be a five-season gig at best.

It was a plausible contention. Saban was coming off just two seasons with the Miami Dolphins. His longest college coaching tenures, at Michigan State and LSU, ended after five seasons. Saban will soon officially begin his 17th season in Tuscaloosa.

According to Sports Reference, including the 2023 season, the SEC has had 180 head coaches. Only seven of them have coached at one SEC school longer than Saban has at Alabama. Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant at Alabama, Vince Dooley at Georgia, Ralph ‘Shug’ Jordan at Auburn, and John Vaught at Ole Miss all did 25 seasons at one SEC school. Bryant was an SEC head coach for 33 seasons, including his eight seasons at Kentucky.

Also ahead of Saban in SEC football history at one school are Wally Butts with 22 seasons at Georgia, Bobby Dodd with 19 seasons at Georgia Tech, and Charlie McClendon with 18 seasons at LSU.

Steve Spurrier has one more, SEC career seasons than Saban, with 12 at Florida and 11 at South Carolina.

Nick Saban and Alabama Football Longevity

Nick Saban’s longevity in Tuscaloosa is noteworthy given the current environment of many coaches job-hopping for larger contracts. Though the University of Alabama was never going to allow another program to outbid it for Nick Saban.

2023 SEC Football Head Coaches

  • Hugh Freeze – Auburn Season No. 1 – Freeze returns to the SEC after being head coach at Ole Miss during 2022-2016. 2023 will be his 11th season as a collegiate head coach.
  • Zach Arnett – Mississippi State Season No. 1 – Arnett was Mike Leach’s defensive coordinator. His head coaching career is one game, last season’s ReliaQuest Bowl, won by the Bulldogs.
  • Billy Napier – Florida Season No. 2 – Before moving to Gainesville, Napier was 40-12 at Louisiana, in his four previous seasons as a head coach.
  • Brian Kelly – LSU Season No. 2 – Before joining the Bengal Tigers, Kelly was a head coach for 19 seasons at Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Notre Dame.
  • Shane Beamer – South Carolina Season No. 3 – Beamer and South Carolina have momentum after an 8-5, 2022 season.
  • Clark Lea – Vanderbilt Season No. 3 – Clark Lea was a respected DC at Notre Dame before returning to Nashville where he played fullback for the Dores.
  • Josh Heupel – Tennessee Season No. 3 – Before Tennesse, Heupel was head coach at UCF for three seasons.
  • Lane Kiffin – Ole Miss Season No. 4 – Kiffin began his head coaching career at Tennessee in 2009. He coached three-plus seasons at USC and three seasons at Florida Atlantic. Kiffin is one of four coaches on this list to have coached for Nick Saban.
  • Sam Pittman – Arkansas Season No. 4 – In three seasons, Pittman has turned the Hogs around to a 19-17 record.
  • Eli Drinkwitz – Missouri Season No. 4 – Drinkwitz had an outstanding first season as a head coach at Appalachian State in 2019. His three seasons with the Tigers have brought a 17-19 record.
  • Jimbo Fisher – Texas A&M Season No. 6 – Fisher had a strong eight-season run at Florida State, but has not replicated that success in College Station.
  • Kirby Smart – Georgia Season No. 8 – Smart has moved past Nick Saban’s shadow after back-to-back National Championships.
  • Mark Stoops – Kentucky Season No. 11 – Stoops has led the Wildcats to 10 wins twice in his 10 head coaching seasons. Kentucky is lucky to have him.
  • Nick Saban – Alabama Season No. 17 – Little needs to be said about Saban, except in the minds of Alabama football fans, he is far from finished in winning championships.

Next. Saban loading up the '24 OL class. dark

How many more Alabama football seasons for Nick Saban? Many Crimson Tide fans are confident it will be at least several.