Alabama's Nick Saban retiring after legendary coaching career

Saban won six of his seven national titles over a 17-year run at Alabama

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The Nick Saban era is over.

The legendary head football coach of Alabama, who won six of his seven national titles with the program, is retiring, the university announced Wednesday.

"The University of Alabama has been a very special place to Terry and me," Saban said in a statement. "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.

"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."

The 72-year-old Saban took over as Alabama coach in 2007 and spent 17 seasons with the program. Saban, who won his first national championship with LSU in 2003, led the Crimson Tide to the title in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2020.

Saban is the only coach to win national championships with two separate FBS programs since the start of the AP Top 25 in 1936.

Saban guided Alabama to a 12-2 record this season. His final game was a 27-20 overtime loss to eventual national champion Michigan in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.

ESPN's Chris Low reported that Saban informed the team of his retirement on Wednesday afternoon.

"Simply put, Nick Saban is one of the greatest coaches of all time, in any sport, and The University of Alabama is fortunate to have had him leading our football program for the past 17 seasons," said Alabama director of athletics Greg Byrne in a statement. 

Saban's head coaching career began at the University of Toledo in 1990. After leading the team to a 9-2 record and Mid-American Conference co-championship, Saban departed the program in 1991 to become the defensive coordinator of the NFL's Cleveland Browns on Bill Belichick's staff.

He took over as head coach of Michigan State in 1995 and spent five seasons with the team. He then joined LSU in 2000, capturing his first national championship in his fourth season with the program.

Saban was named head coach of the NFL's Miami Dolphins in 2005, going 9-7 in his first season and 6-10 in his second before departing with three years remaining on his contract.

He then returned to the college game with Alabama and cemented his status as one of the spot's greatest coaches by restoring a national powerhouse. With the Crimson Tide, he won nine SEC championships, went 16-7 in bowl games, produced four Heisman Trophy winners and 44 first-round NFL draft picks, and, over a 12-year span, captured six national championships.

Saban finishes with a collegiate coaching record of 292-71-1,  including a 206-29 (.877) mark in Tuscaloosa, making him the fifth winningest football coach in history.

"While his time as our coach may have come to an end, his legacy will live on forever," Byrne said. "What an honor it has been for us to have a front-row seat to one of the best to ever do it. A truly remarkable career for Coach Saban."

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