Lane Kiffin says Nick Saban will be at Alabama 'forever' and NIL will boost Crimson Tide's national championship win total

Lane Kiffin says Nick Saban will be at Alabama 'forever' and NIL will boost Crimson Tide's national championship win total

Nick Saban has been at the coaching game for a long time. At 70 years old, he is the oldest active head coach in college football. And if his former offensive coordinator is to be believed, he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said that he doesn’t Saban is going to retire, adding that with the current NIL rules, “he might double his championships.”

People always ask me when Nick Saban will retire. Before I said, ‘Not for a long time.’ He’s driven and he works like he’s 30. Now, it’ll be never. Why would he? You get the best players, have free agency to pluck the best players. He’ll be there forever.

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Kiffin, Saban’s offensive coordinator at Alabama from 2014-16, said he believes the gap between Alabama and the rest of the college football world will only continue to widen with NIL rules. He said the Crimson Tide was already signing the best recruiting classes in the sport, and now with NIL and the transfer portal, it is easier than ever to entice players to transfer and fill gaps from players leaving.

“Here’s the best players out there not playing at Alabama. They can come take these spots,” Kiffin said. “Take professional sports. [Imagine if] instead of winning and drafting at the end, you win and draft at the top. You are Team Whatever and you draft in the top five every year and get a higher cap than everybody you are playing against, and in free agency, you get the first pick by using your higher cap. How is that not going to separate?

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Kiffin’s comments came after a feud between Saban and Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher and Jackson State coach Deion Sanders after the Alabama coach said the Aggies and Tigers bought players. Saban has also recently been outspoken on parity in college football, saying the sport lacks the balance it used to have.

Since Saban took over in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide haven’t gone more than three years without a national championship– He’s amassed six rings in his time with Alabama. Since the introduction of the College Football Playoff in 2014, Alabama has reached the CFP seven out of the eight times and has been in six of the eight national championship games. The Crimson Tide have won three titles in the CFP era.

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Kiffin saying that Saban will be sticking around isn’t too surprising. Before the start of the 2021 season, Saban signed an extension that will keep him as the head coach in Alabama through the 2028 season, which would make him 77 at the time the current deal runs out.

There is a history of college football coaches staying in the sport for a while. Joe Paterno was Penn State’s head coach until he was 84, and Bobby Bowden was at the helm of Florida State until he retired at 80.

Even if Saban doesn’t end up coaching ‘forever’, his affect on college football and the coaches in his coaching tree will carry on that legacy… forever.