A (somewhat misunderstood) Nick Saban quote from today’s SEC coaches teleconference got the college football world all atwitter this afternoon, with the notion that he could coach at Alabama for another decade. He didn’t exactly say that, but it didn’t stop it from becoming fodder today, to the point where even Steve Spurrier weighed in.
During the call, Saban was asked about Lou Saban (a possible distant cousin) coaching into his 80s. Saban responded “I have another 10 years,” meaning until he was 80, not left in his career. Either way, that’s how people took it.
With how things are rolling at Alabama, it wouldn’t shock anyone if he was around for another decade. The team is nationally competitive every year, they recruit one of the top classes annually, and he seems to still have plenty of fire to continue to add to his legacy as arguably the greatest coach in college football history.
Spurrier stepped down as head coach at South Carolina at 70 years old. A few years later, he tried his hand with the Orlando Apollos of the short-lived AAF, but now seems very happy in retirement. He says that, for him, turning 70 wasn’t the impetus for stepping away from the Gamecocks, it was the mounting losses at the end of his tenure. If Saban has a really down year by his standards, that’s when Spurrier could see him stepping away, he told Paul Finebaum.
.@SteveSpurrierUF: "My last year, it wasn't being 70 years old, it was the losses. If (Nick Saban) loses three games in a season that's when he might think 'I don't wanna do this anymore'…but as long as they're recruiting well and winning, he could stay another 10 years."
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) October 27, 2021
Of course, as Spurrier says, there’s no guarantee that ever happens. He put the mark at three-losses in a year. That’s a rare occurrence for Nick Saban-led Alabama football teams.
In his first season with the Crimson Tide, a true rebuild year, the team lost six games. Three seasons later, in 2010, they dropped three games: at Spurrier’s Gamecocks, at LSU, and home against Cam Newton and Auburn.
It hasn’t happened since. Saban has lost just 13 games over the last 10-plus years. If Spurrier is right, fans of opposing SEC teams may be waiting for a while for the Elephant-shaped roadblock that is Alabama to be cleared away.