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Nick Saban, Highest-Paid NCAA Football Coach, Is Retiring

  • The 72-year-old leader is tied for the most national championships of any FBS football head coach.
  • He raked in $11.4 million this past year, according to USA Today data, more than any of his peers.
Nick Saban
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The highest-paid NCAA football coach is retiring.

Alabama’s Nick Saban told players in a team meeting on Wednesday that his coaching career was coming to a close, the school announced. The 72-year-old Saban is tied for the most national championships of any FBS football head coach with seven: six with Alabama and one with LSU.

Saban’s illustrious resume was reflected in his paycheck. This year, he made $11.4 million, more than any other coach in the business. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, who raked in $10.9 million, was the second-highest-paid coach.

His retirement will undoubtedly send shockwaves through the college football landscape, as the open coaching position in Tuscaloosa could set up another coaching carousel. 

As for Saban’s post-coaching future, rumors have flown that he would enter the broadcasting world—but nothing has been confirmed. 

However, industry sources tell Front Office Sports that Saban would be “perfect” as an addition to ESPN’s College GameDay. Lee Corso, 88, can stay on the show as long as he wants, ESPN sources say, but the network has long eyed the Alabama coach as Corso’s possible successor. Saban likes making guest appearances on “GameDay. He’s already tight with new “GameDay” star Pat McAfee, making weekly appearances on his new show. 

Hiring Saban would also fire a shot across the bows of Fox Sports’ “Big Noon Kickoff,” which boasts coach Urban Meyer.  “I don’t know if [Saban] has the passion for the fans that Corso does or the entertainment aspect of things. But it certainly makes a lot of sense,” one source says.

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