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Alabama’s Nick Saban is nowhere near retirement, so quit asking

Nick Saban yelling
Cedric Mason - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

Nick Saban is Thanos from Avengers: Infinity Wars. 

Just when the rest of college football thinks it has him solved, he clutches his fist and reminds the world of why he is still the best in the business.

After a hip replacement surgery, Saban can’t seem to take it easy.

He craves football so much that even his wife – Miss Terry – almost called the police on him for walking outside and around his home. 

The loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game motivated him to return coaches of tenure and recruit players that identify with what Alabama football means.

While rival fan bases and sports personalities of national media await the moment of his retirement, the 67-year-old and six-time national champion is not slowing down anytime soon. In an interview with Paul Finebaum of ESPN on Monday, Saban talked about how he did nothing for six hours after surgery and yearned to have contact with his players. 

“If this is what retirement is all about, then don’t ever mention it. I want no part of it,” Saban said with a smile in talking about resting after surgery.  

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He enters his 13th season with the Crimson Tide next fall and after signing the No. 1 class for 2019, this could be the most complete team Saban has ever had.

Since becoming the head coach of the University of Alabama in 2007, he’s built a program that fans are proud of. 

In having five national titles, six Southeastern Conference Championships, numerous top-ranked recruiting classes and 87 players in the NFL Draft, the native of West Virginia believes there’s much more left in the tank. 

“I really enjoy what I’m doing. I really do,” Saban said. “I love the players.  

“I love the relationships you have with players. I like being part of a team. I’ve always been part of a team and I keep looking at the next challenge and to me, the challenges comes each year in trying to rebuild our team with all the loses that you have — guys going out early for the NFL Draft and graduation – so, I am excited about being able to do this.” 

For someone who craves excellence, Saban would not want to continue coaching if he felt he could not do it at the highest level. 

“If my health got bad or something was happening or I felt like I was not able to keep up the pace in the program, I don’t want to ride the program down,” he said. “We worked hard to make Alabama something special and as long as I am capable to keep contributing, then I’m happy.” 

Saban is in good company for coaches in the business at 60+ years of age. 

His mentor, Bill Belichick, is 67 and isn’t slowing down. Pete Carroll is the same age as Saban and Belichick, and Dick LeBeau coached in the NFL until he was 80. As for college coaches, Bobby Bowden went until he was 80 and Bill Synder was 79 when he moved on from the sidelines of Kansas State University. Synder now serves as the school’s athletic director. 

Joe Paterno made it 85 in coaching Penn State, before his tragic death on Jan. 22, 2012. 

Work is still on the agenda for Saban and as he eyes a sixth national championship at Alabama, which would tie him with legendary coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant, nobody one is safe.  

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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