Where do we – and Alabama – go from here?
For now, this is just a fun exercise during an offseason, because Alabama has no vacancy and doesn’t expect to have one for some time. The real question is what would trigger a vacancy. Would Nick Saban leave Alabama if he wins his seventh national title, thereby breaking the career tie with Paul “Bear” Bryant?
We tend to believe Saban when he says that coaching football is what he does, what defines him, and he’d be bored to death if not coaching somewhere. We’ve always said that once the day comes where Saban decides to hang it up at Alabama, he’ll retire to Lake Burton, Ga., and probably end up being the volunteer coach at the local high school soon afterward. Coaching is in his blood and we don’t expect that to change.
However, when that time does come, Alabama’s next coaching search will be unlike any before it. Alabama mismanaged enough of them in the still-too-recent past that it should understand just how precarious its position as the premier program in college football can be. The next search will not simply be a case of turning left or right to look at the assistants already in the wings, but instead will (or should) be a highly competitive search open to all coaches, college and pro alike, that could maintain the success Nick Saban has brought to Tuscaloosa – if that’s even possible.
It is easier to become a champion than to stay a champion. Alabama has learned that before, and a mismanaged coaching search would, regrettably, teach the school and its fans that same lesson all over again.
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