Last week, I was on a radio program in Ruston, La. to preview Alabama baseball at the NCAA Ruston Regional. While the interview predominantly consisted of questions related to the Crimson Tide baseball program and just exactly what team could get done during its first regional appearance since 2014.
However, there were also other questions.
At both the beginning of the interview and at its close, the hosts asked me questions about the Alabama football program — a program that is often in the minds of the residents of Louisiana as well as across the entire country. If one is to win the College Football Playoff, the road — six out of seven times — has travelled through Tuscaloosa.
"Alabama football isn't going away anytime soon, is it?" the host asked of me, no doubt keeping his audience of predominantly LSU fans at the forefront of his mind. After a bit of elaboration, my final response was short and blunt.
"No, it isn't," I curtly replied.
Monday's news of a three-year contract extension for head coach Nick Saban proved that statement correct.
Saban's contract now runs through the end of the 2028 season and until the last day of February in 2029. If his contract is extended no further and he opts to retire, he will be 77 years old and will have coach Alabama for 22 seasons.
Saban's time with the Crimson Tide has been nothing short of unprecedented, historic and is starting to be labelled as one of the greatest dynasties in all of sports history. Let's take a quick look at its accomplishments:
- Six national championships in the last 12 years, with a 21-2 record against top-10 opponents during those seasons
- An overall record of 170-23
- No. 1 in the AP Poll for at least one week each of the last 13 years
- Playoff contention in a staggering 151 of 154 regular-season games played
- 51 players with 57 first team All-American honors
- 106 players taken in the NFL Draft since 2009, with 39 first-round picks
Saban's new contract will do nothing but amplify that success.
With his new extension, Saban will now be making a base annual salary and talent fee of $8.425 million that will increase annually throughout the remainder of the contract. A contract completion bonus of $800,000 will also be paid out to Saban at the end of the 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025 seasons.
But this isn't about the money. In the statement announcing Saban's contract extension on Monday, one quote stood out above the rest — one from Saban himself — that made that point.
“Terry and I are pleased and happy to sign another contract extension that will keep us in Tuscaloosa through the end of our career,” Saban said. “Our family calls Tuscaloosa and the state of Alabama home, it’s a place where our roots now run deep. This agreement gives us the chance to continue to impact the lives of the young men and their families who choose to play football and get an education at Alabama."
Did you notice it?
"The end of our career."
Saban is happy in Tuscaloosa, folks. It seems that almost every year fans across college football cook up some rumors that Saban isn't happy, that he is being groomed by other schools for jobs elsewhere and that in time he's going to break Alabama fans' hearts and head somewhere else.
That's a totally understandable position if you're an LSU fan who lived through that experience.
Let's not forget about the millions of dollars that Saban has poured into the community both directly through the Nick's Kids Foundation and indirectly through his success on the field. Through that success, Saban has revitalized Tuscaloosa into a college football mecca.
Don't believe me? I have Canadian family members that are going out of their way on their vacation this July to make a stop in Tuscaloosa. Not to see me, but to walk around Bryant-Denny Stadium and the football facilities for the first time.
If 2029 truly is the end of Saban's time in the world of college football, he still has eight seasons left. Only time will tell if the Crimson Tide will win more national titles over that span, but we all know that when it comes to the CFP, Alabama seems inevitable.
So stop with the speculation, college football fans. Stop the endless cycle that seems to pop up after every national title. End the unnecessary and unfounded rumors.
Alabama football and Nick Saban aren't going anywhere. You're just going to have to deal with it for (at least) eight more years.
Last week, I was on a radio program in Ruston, La. to preview Alabama baseball at the NCAA Ruston Regional. While the interview predominantly consisted of questions related to the Crimson Tide baseball program and just exactly what team could get done during its first regional appearance since 2014. Subscribe for full article
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