University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban has won three national championships during his time with the Crimson Tide, and four overall. His success isn’t just impressive, he’s managed to make people in Alabama actually stop looking for the ghost of Bear Bryant. That in itself is a major accomplishment.
So why in the world would he ever even consider leaving all of that behind for the sake of another job?
According to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), that would only happen under one scenario—if the University of Texas came calling.
Saban’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, had a conversation with members of the board of regents for the University of Texas last January. During that conversation, Sexton told the regents that coaching at Texas was the only job that Saban would ever consider if he were to leave Alabama.
Sexton told the regents that because of all the success that Saban has attained with the Crimson Tide has put the coach under “special pressure.”
Texas is currently coached by Mack Brown, who delivered a national championship for the Longhorns back in 2005. He went up against Saban in 2010 for the national title and lost.
Brown currently makes $5.4 million in Texas while Saban brings in $5.6 million, so money certainly wouldn’t be an issue. The Texas football program is considered to be the richest program in the nation. Plenty of boosters there to help out for sure.
The Associated Press also revealed that Texas regent Tom Hicks approached Brown two days after his conversation with Saban’s agent. During that conversation, Hicks asked Brown what his plans for the future were. Brown gave no indication that he was ready to retire anytime soon and was planning on honoring the entire length of his contract, which carries through the 2020 season.
There is pressure in Texas, however, for Brown. After losing the national title game to Saban in 2010, the Longhorns have struggled with a 28-18 record since. For a program rich in tradition and loaded with money, that is simply not acceptable.
The Longhorns have recovered somewhat this season, winning their last five games and vaulting to the top of the Big 12 Conference. But they’re still not ranked in any of the top 25 polls, having lost their first two games of the season.
On Wednesday, Saban did address the issue, saying that he is completely focused on the job at hand.
"I've sort of addressed this situation before," Saban told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi on Wednesday. "I'm totally committed to the University of Alabama. I'm looking forward to the game this week and all my focus has been on LSU and what our team needs to do to play their best."
Saban is without question the best coach in college football today. He’s won titles at both LSU and Alabama, and has the Crimson Tide in position to win their fourth national title in five years.
Is he under pressure in Alabama? Absolutely. The Crimson Tide are now spoiled as the result of all their recent success, so anything less than a national championship is a massive disappointment. Saban is well aware of the expectations he now faces as their coach.
But in moving to Texas, he would certainly be under a different kind of pressure. He would be expected to bring along with him his winning ways and restore the Longhorns program. For Saban, it would come down to which type of pressure he can thrive under better.
Saban has no reason to leave Alabama. At 62 years of age, he likely doesn’t want to start over again anywhere else, and he’s built a program in Alabama that’s become the envy of every other major university.
That’s the kind of special pressure other coaches in Division would kill to have.