Nick Saban Breaks Down Decision To Retire From Legendary Coaching Career
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JULY 19: Head Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide speaks during Day 3 of the 2023 SEC Media Days at Grand Hyatt Nashville on July 19, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Johnnie Izquierdo / Getty Images

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban said during an interview on Thursday that he decided to bring his illustrious coaching career to an end because it was becoming increasingly difficult to live up to the performance standard that he had set as he continues to age.

The hard-charging 72-year-old, who made his decision to retire on Wednesday, will be remembered as arguably the greatest college football coach of all-time, finishing his career with seven national championship titles, more than any other coach.

“The thing that made it more difficult for me, is I felt like it might be the right time for me, but how it impacted the players, the coaches, all the people who work here in the building and contributed to the success of the team, how would it affect them?” Saban said in the ESPN interview. “That was the hard part and that was the part that I kept vacillating on.”

He said that he was not experiencing any health issues, but he found this last season to be “grueling,” saying that it “took a little more out of me than usual.”

“When people mention the health issue, it was really just the grind of ‘Can you do this the way you want to do it?’ ‘Can you do it the way you’ve always done it and be able to sustain it and do it for the entire season?’,” he said. “If I couldn’t make a commitment to do that in the future the way I think I have to do it, I thought maybe this was the right time — based on those two sets of circumstances. There’s never a good time. But I thought maybe this was the right time.”

He said that he had two speeches that he could deliver to his team during their 4 p.m. meeting about his future at the program and that he was still weighing the decision with only five minutes before the meeting.

“When I was young, I could work ’til 2 in the morning, get up at 6 and be there the next day and be full of energy and go for it,” Saban said. “But when you get a little older, that gets a little tougher.”


“When you get my age, it’s inevitable that it’s coming,” he later added. “This year, next year or the next year [after]. And I didn’t want to work on a year-to-year basis. I don’t think that’s fair to your staff. I don’t think that’s fair to the players. I think you need to make long-term commitments to people.”

Saban won his first national championship in 2003 when he was the head coach at LSU. He subsequently won six titles at Alabama, including in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2020. Saban also won 12 conference championships and 19 bowl games in his career and never once had a losing season.

Saban dominated the college football landscape by being by far the most powerful recruiter in the game, landing a top-five recruiting class every year that he was at Alabama except for his first year when he hauled in the #10 ranked class. Of his 17 seasons with the Crimson Tide, Saban landed ten #1 ranked recruiting classes and three #2 ranked classes, according to

In a career field dominated by intense personalities, Saban stood out for taking the intensity and drive for perfection to the next level, which earned him the nickname “Nicktator.”

Saban preached “the process” in coaching his players in which he told them not to focus on winning, but to instead focus on everything that they were doing in the moment and to do the task the best that they could, which included everything from excelling in the classroom, lifting weights, to focusing on competing at the high-level during each play on the gridiron.

Got a tip worth investigating?

Your information could be the missing piece to an important story. Submit your tip today and make a difference.

Submit Tip
Download Daily Wire Plus

Don't miss anything

Download our App

Stay up-to-date on the latest
news, podcasts, and more.

Download on the app storeGet it on Google Play
The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Nick Saban Breaks Down Decision To Retire From Legendary Coaching Career