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Nick Saban

Emails, texting, and trips to the pharmacy have become Nick Saban’s new reality in retirement

Nick Saban smiles while walking the field of Bryant-Denny Stadium
Gary Cosby Jr. - USA Today Sports

He spent 50+ years mentoring young men into being great people and athletes as a football coach, including 17 seasons at the University of Alabama as its head coach.

Nick Saban experienced the highs of winning national championships and the lows of losing difficult games. 

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He had moments where he rested well at night, but he also had times where he tossed and turned after a loss.

The 72-year-old is a competitor at heart; however, he has transitioned into his new reality. People have wondered how Saban would handle retirement. They are curious about how he navigates in a world where he is not giving orders to assistant coaches and players, running around a practice field with a straw hat commanding excellence, breaking headsets on the sideline during a game, having teachable moments with players and firing off on referees, having numerous viral moments with reporters, and experiencing emotional swings in football, but it is going well for him. Chris Low, a senior writer for ESPN, sat down with Saban and his family to discuss his new normal in retirement.

He has gone from being in a hurry for everything to now relaxing.

Terry Saban, or Ms. Terry as Nick likes to call her, has been married to the former head coach for 52 years.

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According to Low, Ms. Terry gave her husband the ‘Ten Commandments of Retirement‘ shortly after he announced to the Crimson Tide his decision on Jan. 10. She wanted him to be more in the moment at home, whether it is taking his time to eat dinner or bringing her a blanket when the family settles in on the couch. She also has Saban texting, reading his own emails, and she said per Low that Saban ‘sent his first-ever email.’ The seven-time national champion also picked his first prescription in his first trip to the pharmacy. He is not one to just take easy, but the once always busy head coach is learning how to relax more.

Saban is answering doors for delivery drivers, has an understanding of all the light switches in the home, and is even open household bills, which is something he did not do in his coaching tenure.

Ms. Terry is enjoying her husband at home, but her and Kristen Saban-Setas (Saban’s daughter) both know that Saban will evolve well in retirement. He has an office above Bryant-Denny Stadium if he’s needed, but for the first time Saban is not needed as much as he once was. He has been enjoying time with his grandson, James, on the golf course, and he’s gotten more time to be around family and friends. He will never fully pull away from Alabama athletics, but Saban finally seems to be enjoying rest.

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

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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