Saban’s legacy solidified in retirement

After winning seven national championships and establishing himself as one of the greatest coaches of all time, Nick Saban has called it a career. The legendary coach leaves big shoes to fill after announcing his retirement a little over a week after losing to Michigan in the Rose Bowl Game.

During his time at Alabama, Saban established the Crimson Tide as the team to beat in college football. His team won double-digit games for a record 16 consecutive seasons prior to the announcement and has been a staple in the College Football Playoff ever since being established in 2014.

Nick Saban attends the Rose Bowl Game media day at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, just ahead of Alabama playing Michigan on New Year’s Day. Photo credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com

“The University of Alabama has been a very special place to Terry and me. We have enjoyed every minute of our 17 years being the head coach at Alabama as well as becoming a part of the Tuscaloosa community,” said Saban in a statement released by the university.

Saban’s success as a winner was equally matched by his ability to develop character and talent. He produced four Heisman Trophy winners, and a record 49 players were drafted in the first round during his tenure as the Alabama head coach.

“It is not just about how many games we won and lost, but it’s about the legacy and how we went about it. We always tried to do it the right way. The goal was always to help players create more value for their future, be the best player they could be, and be more successful in life because they were part of the program. Hopefully, we have done that, and we will always consider Alabama our home,” said Saban.

Athletic director Greg Byrne will now have the difficult responsibility of finding a replacement who will likely never live up to the standard set by Saban. The top coaching candidates in the country will line up for the opening, and Alabama will choose from a fine list of potential new leaders. Unfortunately for the Crimson Tide faithful, Saban will not be one of the names on the list.

“This was one of the most amazing seasons in Alabama football history in terms of where this team came from, what they were able to accomplish, and what they were able to do winning the SEC championship,” said Saban after his last game. “I am really proud of this group, and I just wish that I could have done more as a coach to help them be successful and help them finish.”

Nick Saban addresses the media during the Rose Bowl Game media day. Photo credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com

His retirement was shocking but not surprising. At the time of the loss, there was very little speculation as to whether or not he had coached his last game. Saban was not asked a single question about his future postgame, and he gave little indication that he was contemplating hanging it up.

He had nothing left to accomplish and has had a long, outstanding career, making it a mystery as to how no one saw this coming. The all-time coach deserves the luxury of sitting back and watching his former players use his teachings and lessons as they continue to build upon his historic legacy as a man and winner.

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