After its annual A-Day game Saturday, Alabama exited spring with one significant injury: head coach Nick Saban.
Saban, now 67 years old, said he’s been dealing with a nagging hip injury that could keep him “out” for six to eight weeks.
“And I want to get it fixed because I don’t want to coach for one more year, I want to coach for a lot more years,” Saban said, according to AL.com.
Before Saban, Paul “Bear” Bryant sat alone at the top of Alabama football legend. Bryant became famous for watching practice from a tower.
Unlike his predecessor, Saban remains active and hands-on, sometimes covering receivers himself during drills or throwing passes to receivers. He’s famous as a ball-dominant point guard in pickup basketball games on campus, and takes his players to his lakehouse in Georgia, where he drives the boat and throws everyone off his intertube.
Always focused on recruiting, Saban made sure to let everyone know that his hip issue will not force him into retirement any time soon, lest rivals like Georgia’s Kirby Smart start to tell high school prospects that Saban is on his last legs as a coach (pun intended).
Saban signed a new eight-year, $74 million contract in July 2018. He’ll be 74 years old if he coaches through the end of that deal.
He’s 141-21 at Alabama with four national championships and two other championship-game losses. The Crimson Tide haven’t lost more than one regular-season game since 2010.
But Saban, who also won a national championship at LSU, still trails Bryant by one in that category. Alabama’s 44-16 loss to Clemson in last season’s College Football Playoff championship game rankled him.
He’s quietly started to care a great deal about his legacy, if you believe reporters who are closest to him in Tuscaloosa. And his decision to get his hip issue corrected does seem like it’s a calculated choice so that he can remain active at Alabama practices for years to come.