National News

December 13, 2013

Saban, Alabama reach long-term agreement

Alabama’s Nick Saban is staying put, apparently for the duration of his coaching career.

The university announced Friday night that Saban coach has reached “a long-term agreement” to remain with the Crimson Tide.

“We are very pleased to have this agreement completed,” Saban said in a statement. “(Wife) Terry and our family are very happy in Tuscaloosa. It has become home to us. This agreement allows us to continue to build on the tremendous success that we have enjoyed to this point — successes that have transcended the football field. We are excited about the future and the University of Alabama is where I plan to end my coaching career.”

Alabama didn’t release terms of the deal, which must be approved by the board of trustees.

Saban received an eight-year deal in March 2012 worth about $5.6 million annually and seems likely to remain college football’s highest-paid coach.

The agreement quells speculation that Saban would take over at Texas if Mack Brown steps down. Saban, who turned 62 on Oct. 31, has led the Tide to three national championships in the past four years with no signs of fading from annual contention.

“Coach Saban is the best in the business and has led our program to the pinnacle of college football,” Alabama athletic director Bill Battle said. “This agreement is a strong indication of our mutual commitment to building on the foundation he has established.”

The third-ranked Tide was on the verge of another Southeastern Conference, and perhaps national title, before losing 34-28 to No. 2 Auburn in the regular-season finale on a last-play 109-yard return of a missed field goal.

Alabama will play Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2 in New Orleans.

Saban has said multiple times that he’s too old “to go someplace else and start over.”

“I’m very committed to the University of Alabama, love being here,” he said in November. “We’ve talked about it before. Don’t need to talk about it again. “

But that didn’t stop the speculation and rumors that he was bound for Texas amid reports that Brown was on his way out.

Brown didn’t address his future at Texas at Friday night’s annual team banquet, while acknowledging “distractions” for his team. The Longhorns (8-4) will face Oregon in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30.

Brown met with school President Bill Powers and athletic director Steve Patterson before the banquet. Patterson declined to say what was discussed or if any conclusion had been reached.

Saban is 74-14 in seven seasons at Alabama, with at least 11 wins in five of the last six years and a string of top-rated recruiting classes. The Tide was trying to become the first team to win three straight national titles since the 1930s.

Saban has been mentioned as a candidate for various openings in the NFL and college during his tenure.

That’s no surprise given his track record in the college ranks. Saban is the only coach to win four BCS national titles, including the 2003 championship at LSU. He returned to the SEC after going 15-17 in two seasons with the Miami Dolphins.

“The University of Alabama has finalized a contract agreement with the finest football coach in our country and this contract will keep Nick Saban at the University of Alabama for the remainder of his career,” said Robert E. Witt, Chancellor of the University of Alabama System.

At Texas, several university regents and a former regent were involved in a meeting with Saban’s agent last January to gauge the coach’s interest in coming to Texas.  

According to an email detailing that phone meeting and obtained by The Associated Press, Saban’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, told Texas representatives that Texas was the only job Saban would leave Alabama for, and that Saban was under “special pressure” at his current job.

 

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