Nick Saban clarifies health rumors after last-minute Alabama retirement decision
Nick Saban is putting to bed any concerns about his health in the wake of his surprise retirement on Wednesday, ending a historic college coaching career after 28 years.
The now former Alabama coach told ESPN during an interview on SportsCenter that it was just the grind of the football season that had started to wear him down and that there was no illness that contributed to the decision.
This last season was grueling. It was a real grind for us to from where we started to where we got to, Saban, 72, said. It took a little more out of me than usual and when people mention the health issue, it was really just the grind of can you do this the way you want to do it? Can you do it the way youve always done it and sustain it and do it for the entire season?
And if I couldnt make a commitment to do that in the future the way I have to do it, I thought maybe this was the right time based on those two sets of circumstances.
3Nick Saban described Alabama’s 2023 season as “grueling” in an interview with ESPN on Thursday. Screengrab via X/@TSV__1Theres no illness. Miss Terry is fine. I am fine, Saban says on ESPN. pic.twitter.com/PNpt9oGfnx
— Michael Casagrande (@ByCasagrande) January 11, 2024Several reports had suggested Sabans health had been a factor in the decision to retire, including one from 247 Sports, which indicated that the 72-year-old cited health concerns when addressing his team over his decision to retire.
Saban had also told ESPN in a story that ran online that the 2023 season had been difficult for me from just a health standpoint.
But Saban clarified Wednesday that wasnt to say he had been dealing with any health issues.
3Nick Saban didn’t have any health issues contribute to his retirement decision, he told ESPN. Getty ImagesTheres no illness. Miss. Terry is fine. I am fine, Saban said during the SportsCenter interview. It was the, can you sustain the season just from a mental grind standpoint? When I was I could work until two in the morning and get up at six and be there the next day and be full of energy and go for it. But you get a little older and that gets a little tougher.
Saban wrapped up a historic career in which he had a 292-71-1 record five wins were vacated by the NCAA in 2009 over a rules violation 11 SEC titles and seven national championships (six at Alabama and one at LSU) to his name.
No coach has won more national titles than Saban, and he is one of the most respected names across the sport.
3Nick Saban won seven national championships, including six at Alabama, while coaching college football. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters ConBut even with so many accolades and accomplishments, the decision to step away wasnt an easy one and it wasnt something he decided on until moments before he met with his players, he revealed Thursday.
The thing that made it more difficult for me is, I felt it might be the right time for me, but how it impacted the players, the coaches, all the people who worked there in the building and contributed to the success of the team, how it would affect them. That was the hard part. That was the part I kept vacillating on back and forth, Saban said.
“I was on the phone, we had a meeting at 4 p.m, it was 3:55, I was sitting in my chair, looking at the clock, saying you’ve got five minutes to decide which speech you’re going to give. I was actually talking to Miss Terry right up until that time. It was a difficult decision because it impacts and influences the lives of so many people.”
Nick Saban departs from the Mal Moore Athletic Facility. @abc3340pic.twitter.com/rOA4EKsGPN
— Johnny Congdon (@congdonsation) January 11, 2024Saban was spotted exiting Mal Moore Athletic Facility shortly after 3:30 p.m. flanked by police officers and an Alabama staffer as he made his way to his black Mercedes before driving out of the facility.
All eyes will be on Alabama to see who the school hires to replace the legendary and beloved Saban.
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