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Alabama football coach Nick Saban to retire after 17 seasons and 6 national championships with the Crimson Tide

Saban established the most successful college football program of the 21st century.
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Alabama's Nick Saban, the coach who established the most successful college football program of the 21st century, is stepping away from the sidelines.

Saban's retirement was first reported Wednesday by The Tuscaloosa News.

Saban, 72, said in a statement Wednesday evening announcing his retirement that he and his wife, Terry, "have enjoyed every minute" of their 17 years at the university and as part of the Tuscaloosa community.

"It is not just about how many games we won and lost, but it’s about the legacy and how we went about it. We always tried to do it the right way," Saban said. "The goal was always to help players create more value for their future, be the best player they could be and be more successful in life because they were part of the program. Hopefully, we have done that, and we will always consider Alabama our home.”

Saban steps away with a career mark of 297-71-1, a stunning .806 winning clip, in stops at Toledo, Michigan State, LSU and Alabama.

While he was successful at all those stops, he’ll be best known for his time in Tuscaloosa, where he brought the Crimson Tide back to the top of college football.

During his 17 years at 'Bama, the Tide went 206-29 (.877) and won national championships in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2019.

Saban’s Alabama teams were so dominant that he became the virtual face of college football, whether he was in insurance company ads or making a brief appearance in the blockbuster movie “The Blind Side.”

In a post on a social media page for Saban's charity, Nick's Kids Foundation, his wife said Alabama will always be a part of their family's life.

“It has been an incredible run these last 17 years at the University of Alabama, and we take with us many amazing memories," Terry Saban wrote on the Facebook page. "... Alabama will always feel like ‘Sweet Home’ to our family, and we’ll be cheering ‘Roll Tide’!”

Saban wraps up his career with a loss, which was one of two his team recorded this season. Alabama lost early in the season to Texas and then to eventual College Football Playoff champion Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

The team's 12 wins include an SEC championship game win over the Georgia Bulldogs.

As his teams collected national titles, Saban collected personal honors: He was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2013; he was twice named Associated Press National Coach of the Year — first in 2003, when he coached LSU, and in 2008, when he was at Alabama.

University of Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne called Saban “one of the greatest coaches of all time, in any sport.” A new coach wasn’t immediately announced.

On campus Wednesday night, students took photos of and gathered near a statue of Saban, video from NBC affiliate WVTM of Birmingham showed.

Saban was born in Fairmont, West Virginia, and played football at Kent State University in Ohio as a student.

His first head coaching job was at the University of Toledo in Ohio, a job that was followed by positions leading Michigan State and LSU. He coached the Miami Dolphins of the NFL before he was hired at Alabama in 2007.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey was among those hailing Saban and his coaching career Wednesday night.

"Nick Saban will go down as one of the best in college football, and in Alabama, in our culture, that means something," she said in a statement.

Auburn University football, which is a rival of Alabama’s, said on X, "End of an era."

"Hard to express how much Nick and Ms Terri have meant to Jill and I as friends and you have forever set the mark for many to chase in this profession," Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze said on the social media platform. "Enjoy Retirement!!"

CORRECTION (Jan. 11, 2024, 12:45 a.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the birthplace of Nick Saban. It is Fairmont, West Virginia, not Virginia.