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Saban Says He’ll Be At Bama Until Retirement

That whopping new extension Nick Saban signed yesterday — the one that’s been broken down as paying him anywhere from $5.1 to $5.6 million this year, depending on the source — well, the coach views it as a contract for life.

“From my standpoint, the acceptance of this extension represents our commitment — my commitment, our family’s commitment — to the University of Alabama for the rest of our career.  We made that decision after the season when other people were interested.”

As for who came calling, Saban said “it doesn’t really matter… we wanted to stay at Alabama.”

Saban has been viewed as a bit of a bounder — hat tip, Jerry Seinfeld — but that reputation stems almost entirely from his short stay with the Miami Dolphins.  In reality, he’s held just five jobs in the past 21 years:

1991-94 – Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator (From Bill Belichick’s staff he became a head coach in the Big Ten, an upgrade.)

1995-99 — Michigan State head coach (In five seasons he revived a program that was fraught with internal turmoil before making another upgrade-type move.  At State, he was at the #2 program in a state not known for great recruiting, but…)

2000-04 — LSU head coach (In Baton Rouge, Saban was at the #1 school in a very fertile recruiting zone, another upgrade.)

2005-06 — Miami Dolphins head coach (Like, oh, so many coaches who have to scratch an itch to be the best at the best level, Saban gave it a shot as an NFL head coach.  It wasn’t a fit.  And when pressed midseason about reports that he was going to Alabama, he lied to the press in order to keep his Miami team from quitting on him.  Thus the Petrino-esque reputation.)

2007-Now — Alabama head coach (Saban left the NFL but he landed at arguably the most tradition-rich school in the nation, another upgrade.)

One could argue that Saban — aside from Miami — has made a step up the ladder with each and every move.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s good business.  And in an age when fanbases tire of a coach after nine or 10 seasons, restarting the clock as we so often say is the wise move for coaches.  Saban’s done that repeatedly.

There are people close to Saban who will tell you he regrets ever leaving LSU in the first place.  Hindsight is 20/20, etc, etc.  So when he says he’ll be at Alabama for the duration of his coaching career, we believe him.

As for his contract, he will indeed make — as we reported yesterday — $5.3 million for 2012.  By the end of his deal in 2020 he’s due to make more than $5.9 million.  He would be 68 at that point.  (He doesn’t look 60, does he?)

When Saban was hired at Alabama and he and his staff were paid a total of $6.24 million, American sports fans gasped.  “For a college coaching staff?”  Now Saban and crew are making $9.11 million — a 31% increase over five years — and you could argue they’re underpaid.

“It doesn’t really matter what my opinion is or anyone else’s opinion (regarding the salaries),” Saban said.  “The market is what it is, and if we’re not willing to pay that to the best people that we have, they’re not going to be here.”

Two national championships and three BCS bowl games (and payouts).  All the added exposure that’s come from that.  All the increased merchandise sales.  An expansion of Bryant-Denny Stadium that brings in millions of dollars more per year for the university.

Even paying $5.3 for Saban and $9.11 for the total staff, the University of Alabama is bringing in far more from football than it’s paying out.  It’s no wonder — barring changes to other coaches’ contracts — that Saban is set to be the highest-paid college football coach in the country.



Nick Saban is a good college coach, best place for him is BAMA.


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