600 ESPN El Paso logo
Get our free mobile app

Nick Saban, one of college football's coaching greats who won seven national championships and turned Alabama back into a national powerhouse that included six of those titles, announced his retirement Wednesday after 17 seasons in Tuscaloosa.

"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."

Saban, 72, just completed his 17th season at Alabama, which ended in a loss to eventual national champion Michigan in the Rose Bowl. He won 201 games -- tied with Vince Dooley (Georgia) for the second-most wins at a single school in SEC history, behind only Bear Bryant, who won 232 games in his 25 seasons with Alabama.


In the meeting Wednesday, Saban thanked his players for the way they bought in and told them that he'd thought out his decision carefully. But with the way college football has changed in terms of the transfer portal and tampering, NIL being used as a guide for bidding for high school players and transfers, and the recruiting calendar being extended, he told his players that the time was right for him to retire.

In his 28 years as a college head coach -- a career that included seven national titles, 12 conference championships (11 SEC, 1 MAC) and 19 bowl game wins -- Saban never had a losing season. His worst seasons were in 1996 and 1998 at Michigan State (finished .500).


The Ten Greatest Rivalries in College Football

These college football rivalries have stood the test of time.

Ten Most Iconic Uniforms in College Sports