The claims have been made since Nick Saban arrived at the University of Alabama in 2007.
He’s not going to stay. He’ll go back to the NFL. He’ll leave for another school.
None of that has happened.
The latest, of course, is that Saban won’t be coaching much longer because of his age. He’s 66 and again will celebrate his birthday during the Crimson Tide’s bye week, just after the midpoint of the 2018 season.
Opposing coaches started using that one in recruiting about three years ago — or in the Alabama football timeline, two national championships ago.
Yeah, he’s really starting to slow down (insert sarcasm font).
One of the reasons why there’s been such widespread speculation about how much longer he’ll coach is that any prospect who redshirts is obviously on a five-year enrollment plan, which means Saban would be in his 70s by the time that prospect is a senior. You don’t see too many successful coaches at that age.
Granted, just about every player Saban recruits is thinking three years and NFL, but that’s neither here nor there.
It’s about the only way opponents can negatively recruit against Alabama anymore. Yet, this year, in particular, it may be backfiring. Saban has revamped his coaching staff and is putting together another star-filled recruiting class. Plus, he also has a very easy counter to the age question.
He isn’t just the dean of SEC coaches, he’s the only one with strong job security.
Among the schools that now make up the SEC — keep in mind Missouri and Texas A&M didn’t begin play in the league until 2012 — there have been 30 coaching changes since 2008.
Arkansas and Tennessee have seen the most with four. Neither program has notched a win against Alabama during that time.
Every other SEC program has made at least one change at the top since 2013.
So, when the staff of a rival school plays the age card and its fans openly ask if Saban will still be coaching in five years, all someone from Alabama has to do is say, “Probably. What are the chances your coach will be there in five years?”
You don’t need to shake a Magic 8 Ball to know that the most likely answers are: Don’t count on it, outlook not so good or very doubtful.
SEC East UF UGA UK Mizzou USC UT Vandy
- 2007 Meyer Richt Brooks Pinkel Spurrier Fulmer Johnson
- 2009 Kiffin
- 2010 Phillips Dooley Caldwell
- 2011 Muschamp Franklin
- 2013 Stoops Jones
- 2014 Mason
- 2015 McElwain
- 2016 Smart Odom Muschamp
- 2018 Mullen Pruitt
SEC West Ala. Ark. AU LSU OM MSU A&M
- 2007 Saban Nutt Tuberville Miles Orgeron Croom Franchione
- 2008 Petrino Nutt Sherman
- 2009 Chizik Mullen
- 2012 Smith Freeze Sumlin
- 2013 Bielema Malzahn
- 2017 Orgeron Luke
- 2018 Morris Moorhead Fisher