Thursday, September 19, 2013
Saban has his challenge ... at Alabama
By Chris Low
For the umpteenth time, and with emphasis, Nick Saban isn’t looking for a new job.
He likes the job he has at Alabama. He likes what he’s built at Alabama, and he has emphasized to me more than once in our conversations over the past few years that there are no other coaching horizons out there for him.
Saban, who will turn 62 in October, fully expects Alabama to be his final coaching job. I’m not sure how many more times he can say that.
Don't expect Nick Saban to leave Alabama and go running off to Texas, or anywhere else.
He was even more adamant Thursday night on his weekly radio show when he said, much to the delight of the Alabama fans in attendance, “I’m just too damn old to start over somewhere else.”
So why is this a story again?
For one, Saban is the best in the business, the surest thing out there right now in college football. His agent, Jimmy Sexton, fields inquiries all the time -- both pro and college -- about whether or not Saban would be interested in making a move. Agents for all of the top coaches field those types of calls. It's a part of what they do as agents, although it rarely becomes public when those calls occur.
The news would be if people weren’t calling.
In this particular case, news broke Thursday that a current and a former member of the University of Texas board of regents contacted Sexton days after Alabama defeated Notre Dame last season to win the Crimson Tide’s second straight national championship.
There are all sorts of reasons why stories like that are leaked. Perhaps some in Texas are trying to turn up the heat on an embattled Mack Brown. Then again, maybe it was a ploy by those in Brown’s circle to drum up some compassion for the future Hall of Fame coach who, like anybody in his profession, wants to go out on his terms.
But none of this should set off alarm bells in the Alabama camp. It certainly wasn’t initiated by Saban or anybody representing him, although he’s growing accustomed to the latest rumor du jour about his possibly seeking a new challenge popping up every year.
That’s simply what happens when you win three of the past four national championships, and if he wins a third straight this January, you can bet there will be a new rumor circulating next year.
It’s true that Saban is a builder, a master builder at that, and he loves the challenge of making a program whole again.
But as he told me last season, he’s moved around enough, coached at every level and doesn’t have the itch to see what else is out there. Besides, his wife, Terry, loves it at Alabama.
"I think most people know I'm here for the long haul," Saban told me last October. "I'm not looking for another challenge. I've done that too much. When I was at LSU, I was ready to settle in except for one thing: Would I ever go to the NFL? Well, I did that and learned about myself and feel fortunate that I got back to a good place where you had a chance to win, and that was here. So regardless of what anybody else says, I'm not looking for another challenge.
"I'm not satisfied with my performance, but I am satisfied with myself being here."
And in the meantime, Saban's phone (and his agent's) will keep ringing. That you can be sure of.