Nick Saban explains what drives him to continue coaching at Alabama
Nick Saban could end his coaching career tomorrow and ride off into the sunset being widely regarded as the greatest college coach that ever lived.
He’s led Alabama to six national championships (plus he won another one during his time at LSU) and seven Southeastern Conference titles (with another two captured at LSU).
There’s nothing he hasn’t accomplished on the college gridiron.
So what still motivates Alabama’s coach? That’s a question Saban was asked during a recent appearance on All Things Covered Podcast, which is hosted by Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden.
“Well, I think the shelf life for me doesn’t come with age, or a number,” Saban responded on the show. “It comes with, do you still feel like you can create value in the organization by doing a good job and having an impact on helping the players in the program have a better chance to be more successful in life because of the program that you have?
“Whether it’s personal development, academic support, graduating from school, helping them develop careers as football players. As long as I can do that, I feel good about doing this but I don’t want to ride the program down. I mean, you get to the point where you’re not making a contribution and you still try to continue to do it. I don’t know when that’s coming. I don’t know what number, you know, that is. ”
One thing that’s seemingly helped Saban stay engaged is the nature of college football. With rosters constantly overturning each offseason, Alabama’s coach says he enjoys the process of rebuilding his teams on an annual basis.
“I look at this whole thing in college coach and you lose about 25% of your team every year,” Saban continued. “So it’s almost like you took a new job. The day after the national championship game or the day after the last game that you played, it’s like okay this is a new job.
“We’re going to lose 25% of our team, a lot of really good players. Most of the time the leadership on the team leaves. So you have all these new challenges with people in new roles and that’s very challenging to me and I still enjoy doing that part of it.”
Retooling the roster — Saban also typically has to rebuild his coaching staff after assistants annually seem to leave for promotions — and dealing with all the massive success of his program also can create unique challenges for Alabama’s coach to tackle.
“Every year it’s a different challenge,” Saban added. “When you win a championship, it’s the complacency and all the things that go with that people not understanding that success is not a continuum, it’s momentary. You got to move on and you got to try to still figure out a better way and do all the things you did to help you be successful in the past.
“That’s very challenging because it’s not human nature to do that. When we have success, we think we should be rewarded. I mean that’s the way it goes. But in sports, you can’t smell the roses too long because somebody’s going to be nipping at your heels and everybody’s got you circled next year to play their best against you.”
Leave it to Saban to turn the success of his program into an obstacle that must be overcome. No wonder he’s the GOAT.