When it comes to job rumors and his future at Alabama, there is one quote that will forever haunt Nick Saban until he hangs up his coaching whistle.
“I guess I have to say it… I’m not going to be the Alabama coach,” Saban, then the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, said on Dec. 21, 2006, nearly two weeks before he was named the Alabama coach Jan. 3, 2007.
When it comes to the ongoing speculation that Saban is leaving ‘Bama for Texas… or for the NFL (again)… or for any other locale not located in Tuscaloosa, Saban has the money quote to end all family money quotes in an interview with the esteemed Chris Low of ESPN.com.
And, in this one, unlike the one nearly a decade ago when it came to his future, the 62-year-old Saban, who has uprooted his family myriad times for multiple jobs in a Hall of Fame career, gets personal when asked about leaving the Tide. Very, very personal.
“No, I really don’t [see myself coaching anywhere but Alabama]. I don’t see it ever happening, and I know every year somebody has me going somewhere else,” Saban told low. “I think a lot of it isn’t just about the coaching part. What people don’t understand is they forget you’re a person. They forget you have a wife and two kids and a grandbaby, and they all live in Birmingham.
“They all work here. My wife goes to Birmingham five times a week. My mom lives in Birmingham now after moving from Myrtle Beach. It’s not just the job. A lot of people don’t get that. My life is here.”
Circling back to that first quote — and forgetting about the speculation that will now connect him to the University of Alabama-Birmingham job in perpetuity — rumors will always follow Saban until he hangs it up. They will, in large part because of the emphatic denial. When you’re one of the best at what you do, ever, it’s simply a part of the rumor-mill beast that needs to be fed — especially when you very publicly
lied bent the hell out of the truth about the possibility of leaving your previous job.
With this interview, he’s made it patently obvious that he has very personal reasons to eschew a do-over in some other elsewhere.
The comments will likely do nothing to stunt the rumors that will eventually come yet again, but it should be yet another data point that Saban will retire as the Tide’s head coach in X number of years, then slide right into a cushy job as a television analyst because, like he is as a college football head coach, he’ll be damn good at it.
As he’s shown, he’ll settle for nothing less than the best.