Last summer, Alabama coach Nick Saban signed a contract to stay as the coach of the Crimson Tide through 2028. It was further proof that the legendary coach who is widely regarded as one of the best of all time is dedicated to staying with the program until he retires. However, a new book reveals that his coaching career almost came to an end a long time before that extension was signed.
Saban considered hanging up his headset in 2014 and joining ESPN as a television analyst according to the new book “The Leadership Secrets of Nick Saban,” by AL.com senior sports editor John Talty, scheduled to be released on Aug. 9. According to The New York Post, the book reveals Saban met with agent Nick Khan, who represented multiple high-profile media personalities at the time, prior to the 2013 season to discuss the possibility of joining ESPN. Saban had just come off back-to-back BCS Championships, and had led the Crimson Tide to three of the previous four national championships.
Plans were put on hold during the regular season, which saw Alabama rip off 11 straight wins heading into the Iron Bowl vs. Auburn — which served as the de facto SEC West championship game for the first time since the conference’s divisional split in 1992. That game provided one of the most iconic moments in college football history, the “Kick Six,” when Auburn defensive back/returner Chris Davis received a missed field goal in the back of the end zone and ran 109 yards for a touchdown as time expired to secure a 34-28 Auburn win, the division title and prevent Alabama from winning its third straight national title.
The Crimson Tide’s season ended with a loss to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, which accelerated the talks with ESPN. Saban reportedly “empowered Khan to reach out to ESPN with the message Saban was thinking about the next chapter in his career and considering whether media should be a part of that,” according to the book.
Despite serious interest in becoming a television analyst Saban, ultimately decided to stay at Alabama .
“If he wasn’t interested, he never would have done it in the first place,” Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack, who was working with ESPN at the time, said in the book. “But I also didn’t think he was ready to step aside as being a coach.”
Saban has won three national championships and six SEC titles since the discussions with the network.