Last Updated on January 14, 2024
After 17 seasons at the University of Alabama, Nick Saban, considered by many to be the greatest college football coach of all time, has announced his retirement. It is the end of an era, but his impact on college football and the University of Alabama will be felt for years to come.
Nick Saban’s Career Coaching Stats
Since his hiring on January 4, 2007, Nick Saban led the University of Alabama football team to six national championships, nine SEC championships, two undefeated seasons, and a multitude of honorary accolades.
Saban led the Tide to win their first College Football Playoff National Championship in 2009 after an undefeated season of 14-0, with additional championship wins following in 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, and 2020.
Four time SEC Coach of the Year and seven time National Coach of the Year, Saban held an .804 win percentage in the SEC, and spent an impressive 109 weeks at No. 1 in the AP Poll, totaling more weeks than any program in AP Poll history.
It should be noted that prior to his dominance at Alabama, Saban also led LSU to both SEC and national championships, making his overall record round out at 11 SEC championship and 7 national championship titles. Winning more national titles than any other major college football coach, Saban became the first coach to win a national championship at two different schools.
Saban also spent eight years coaching in the NFL. Saban’s overall coaching record sits at 297-71-1, with his record at Alabama sitting at 206-29 (201-29 in the record books because of vacated wins).
Mastering the skill of recruiting by recognizing developing talent and implementing his well-known coaching philosophy known as “The Process,” Saban coached four Heisman Trophy winners during his time in Tuscaloosa. Running back Mark Ingram II, the first Heisman Trophy winner in Crimson Tide history, followed by Derrick Henry (2015), DeVonta Smith (2020) and Bryce Young (2021) all contributed to Saban going down in history as the only coach to have ever coached Heisman winners in three different positions (RB, WR, QB).
During his 17-year reign, Saban produced 49 players to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft. He also proves to be a valued teacher and mentor as many of his assistants later landed head coaching positions such as Kirby Smart leading Georgia, Steve Sarkisian over Texas, and Lane Kiffin leading Mississippi.
Saban’s Financial Impact on the University of Alabama
The University of Alabama has also experienced the effects of Nick Saban and the success of Alabama football as enrollment rates have skyrocketed almost 60% since Saban’s arrival. In 2007, the University of Alabama reported 25,580 students enrolled. By 2015, nearly 37,100 students were enrolled. Alabama recorded another record-breaking year with 39,623 students enrolled for classes in 2023.
As of 2022, the number of out-of-state students represented 57.9% of the 38,645 students enrolled at UA in fall 2022, leaving 42.1% to in-state students (an unusual occurrence for a state university). The combination of coaching legend Saban and Alabama football’s success on the field no doubt deserves credit for attracting an increase in out-of-state students enrolling in the university during the Saban era.
During the 2022-23 fiscal year, the Crimson Tide football program reported an outstanding $214.4 million in revenue, and $18 million in profit, a 224.9% rise in revenue from the 2013-14 fiscal year at $95.3 million. Alabama records show that in 2019, each home football game brought in $26.6 million, averaging a state-wide impact of nearly $185.9 million for the year.
University of Alabama football revenue consistently outranks any other SEC school, with only LSU and Arkansas coming anywhere near with LSU bringing in 199.3 million in revenue and 6.5 million in profit, and Arkansas bringing in 152.2 million in revenue and 8.1 million in profit.
Ticket prices for Bryant-Denny stadium have also skyrocketed since Saban joined the Tide in 2007. During his first season coaching in Tuscaloosa, ticket sales increased as much as 37.5%, according to Tide Pride season ticket holders.
To put the inflation into perspective, tickets to an SEC home game in 2006 cost $40. Upon Saban’s arrival in 2007, ticket prices rose to $55 per ticket. According to ticket prices on Alabama’s website, in 2023 all non-premium season tickets cashed out at $450 each, premium season tickets locked in at $550 for the year, and Premium Tide Pride tickets ranging from $1,000 to $16,000 for box seats. There simply is no question that the Saban led Alabama football team was the reason behind the profit exceeding $18 million for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
Saban’s Contract Details
In August 2022, Saban signed an eight-year contract extension through 2030, valuing at roughly $93.6 million. Making him the highest-paid college football coach for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, Saban’s contract carried an average annual salary of $11.7 million.
Over his entire tenure at Alabama, Saban earned nearly $120 million.
Emotional Impact Left on The Tide
The University of Alabama Athletic Director, Greg Byrne commented on Saban’s career by stating, “Throughout his career as a head coach, his teams have won seven national championships, 11 conference championships and 312 games, and he’s developed an NCAA-record 49 NFL first-round draft picks and, most importantly, hundreds of college graduates. He is the consummate coach, mentor and leader, and his impact is felt far beyond the football field.”
It is noteworthy to mention that the University of Alabama football team proved success beyond the field, collectively earning 656 degrees, including 103 master’s degrees under the man who is considered “one of the greatest coaches of all time, in any sport” since Saban’s arrival in 2007.
Saban also founded the Nick’s Kids Foundation, where he helped distribute over $12 million to underprivileged students, teachers, and other children’s causes at over 150 charities through his foundation. Saban’s impact is felt heavily beyond Bryant-Denny and the Tuscaloosa community.
While announcing his retirement from coaching college football on Wednesday January 10, 2024, Saban reflected on his time at the University of Alabama stating, “It is not just about how many games we won and lost, but it’s about the legacy and how we went about it. We always tried to do it the right way. The goal was always to help players create more value for their future, be the best player they could be and be more successful in life because they were part of the program.”
Though the reign of his coaching career at the University of Alabama has come to an end, his legacy is one that will go down in history as the greatest college football coach of all time.