Nick Saban has said he doesn’t know what he’d do without football in his life, and the 66-year-old has no public plans of leaving his championship program behind anytime soon. Lane Kiffin believes him.
The former Alabama offensive coordinator, who now spends his days near the retirement community of Boca Raton, Fla., with his Florida Atlantic program, said he doesn’t believe he will see his former boss in town looking for a condo anytime soon.
In fact, Kiffin said he thinks Saban could go another decade or more in what could be a record-setting situation. During an interview with ESPN 104.5-FM in Baton Rouge, La., on Thursday morning, Kiffin was asked to give his take on Saban’s future after a story from ESPN’s Chris Low sparked debate on just how long Saban planned to continue coaching after winning another national title with the Crimson Tide in January.
“I really think it could be a record-type thing — another 10 years,” Kiffin said. “This is going to sound strange, but kind of like Tom Brady as a player. You know, how he’s taking care of himself and breaking all of the odds with that. Coach [Saban] is extremely healthy, takes care of himself. People are supposed to kind of lose things when they get up there in age, but he doesn’t at all. He doesn’t slow down; he just drives himself. He works harder than everyone else in the building, regardless of whether he’s a 25-year-old or not.”
Brady, 40, is coming off back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. If you’re willing to make a comparison between a coach’s career and a player, Kiffin connecting those two really isn’t strange at all.
Kiffin’s thoughts align with those of former Florida coach Steve Spurrier, who predicted that Saban would coach into his 70s during an interview with Low for the piece on the Alabama coach.
“Nick ain’t thinking about retiring, not even close,” Spurrier told Low. “He can go into his 70s easy, and I think he will.
“I told him he won’t retire until he loses three games in a season. He told me, ‘If I ever lose three games around here again, they might kill me.’ I think he was joking, but I’m not sure.”
Kiffin explained the only real reason for Saban to retire would be because his desire to coach football was gone, not a matter of being outrecruited or outcoached.
“I think him stopping would only be by choice — if he wanted to,” Kiffin said. “Not for any other reason, because he’s not going to slow down. He’s going to continue to be the best recruiter in the country, and that’s the No. 1 reason that he wins. He has the best players. Every Saturday they play, they have better players than the players on the other sideline. And it’s usually not even close. They have better players by far, even in the national championship. That has everything to do with one thing: He’s the best recruiter, and he outworks everybody.”
Sorry, Bama haters. It sounds as if those who know him best expect Saban to continue adding to his dynasty at Alabama for years to come.