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Nick Saban Consulted Two Legendary Coaches As He Considered Retirement

Three days after Alabama’s Rose Bowl loss to Michigan, Nick Saban and his wife Terry left Tuscaloosa for their home in Jupiter Island, Fla., with retirement at the front of mind for the future Hall of Fame coach, according to a report from ESPN’s Chris Low.

The vacation led to deep conversations between the Sabans about whether or not the time was right for the longtime Alabama coach to finally step away.

“That’s one of the reasons we went, to discuss whether I would keep coaching,” Saban said. But she didn’t know. I didn’t really know. It’s not just something I think about during the season, but that was the time to think about it and talk about it, for both of us.”

Jan 1, 2024; Pasadena, CA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban walks the sideline during the first half against the Michigan Wolverines in the 2024 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl.

The Rose Bowl ended up being Nick Saban’s final game as a college coach.

Conversations didn’t just take place with “Ms. Terry,” as Nick affectionately calls her. As he still sought clarity, Saban also talked with two legends while in Jupiter: Bill Parcells and former Alabama coach Gene Stallings.

“Both of them said you never know quite when it’s the right time, but you kind of also know in the back in your mind when it’s the right time. And that’s sort of the way I was feeling,” Saban added.

The rest, of course, is history. Saban spoke with his players the following Wednesday, and was still wrestling with his decision minutes before the team meeting. Ultimately, Saban chose to retire, ending his legendary coaching career and paving the way for the school to hire Washington’s Kalen DeBoer as his replacement.

The concluding factor for Saban ended up being simple.

“It was just the right time.”