To understand the gravity of Nick Saban's run with Alabama football, you must know how far the football program had fallen before he was hired. Paul "Bear" Bryant retired in 1982. In the 25 years between Bryant and Saban, Alabama won three SEC Championships (one shared in 1989), had five losing seasons, and finished outside the AP Top 25 10 times.
Former Bryant player Gene Stallings won a national title in 1992 but the program was far from the dominant juggernaut it once was. The NCAA sanctions that followed that championship crippled the program even further. When Alabama fired Mike Shula in 2006, many wondered if you could win at a high level in Tuscaloosa.
Then, one of the biggest what-ifs in sports happened while Nick Saban was head coach in Miami. What if Drew Brees passed his physical with the Dolphins? If he quarterbacks the Dolphins, Saban might never have coached the Tide, and this article is never written.
Seventeen seasons, seven National Championships, 11 SEC Championships, and eight College Football Playoff appearances later, the G.O.A.T of college football coaching is calling it a career. Who replaces Saban? Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne has the unenviable task of making a career-defining hire.
Here are five candidates to replace Nick Saban at Alabama