Nick Saban Once Thought About Leaving Alabama for a Broadcasting Gig at ESPN

by Dustin Schutte

Close your eyes and imagine a world in college football without Nick Saban. It almost happened … well, at least in 2014.

According to the New York Post, a new book — The Leadership Secrets of Nick Saban from‘s John Talty — details how Saban nearly left Alabama for a broadcasting job at ESPN. If that would’ve happened, the Crimson Tide might have three fewer national championship trophies.

Can you hear that? That sound is college football and SEC fans weeping.

Per the report, Saban apparently had Nick Kahn — a sports media talent agent — reach out to ESPN following the 2013 college football season. He is said to have “zeroed in” on joining the College GameDay staff.

John Wildhack, a senior executive at ESPN at the time, said conversations went well regarding Saban’s interest. He didn’t think the head coach was quite ready to move on to the next chapter, though. Eventually, the seven-time national champion chose to stay with the Crimson Tide.

“Not because we didn’t have a good conversation and not because he wasn’t intrigued by television because he was intrigued and he was interested,” Wildhack said in the book. “If he wasn’t interested, he never would have done it in the first place. But I also didn’t think he was ready to step aside as being a coach.”

Saban has dominated college football for so long, it’s hard to imagine a coaching world without him. It almost happened, though. A lot of college football fanbases — and opposing coaches, for that matter — probably wish he took the gig at ESPN.

Nick Saban isn’t Going Anywhere

Alabama has dominated the college football world since Nick Saban took over in 2007. The Crimson Tide have claimed eight SEC titles and six national championships in his 15 years with the program.

Though he thought about stepping away in 2014, it appears Saban has no interest in that now. In 2021, Alabama extended Nick Saban’s contract, keeping him in Tuscaloosa through February 2029.

The seven-time national champion will continue to receive $275,000 base salary each year but will earn a talent fee of $8.825 million. By the conclusion of his contract, that total will reach $11.225 million, per USA TODAY.

As long as Saban is in Tuscaloosa, Alabama will be a contender for national championships. How many more will they win under St. Nick’s leadership?