Nick Saban has proven time and again to be up for any challenge college football can throw at him. Now, he’ll face his greatest test yet — coaching two of the biggest programs in the nation at the same time.
The University of Texas and University of Alabama issued a joint statement today announcing that Saban would be head coach of both the Longhorns and Crimson Tide next season, the first such arrangement in NCAA history. The two schools will split Saban’s 4-year, $60 million contract, as well as costs for the private jet and helicopter Saban will use for traveling between the school’s games.
“At this point, with our incredible coordinators and assistants handling in-game tactics and our well-oiled recruiting machine, my role at Alabama is almost superfluous,” Saban said, as he received a text confirming another 5-star recruit was committing to the Crimson Tide. “Any coach can win four national championships between two programs — that’s kiddie stuff. But can a coach bring two teams to the national championship game simultaneously? That’s what I intend to find out.”
Saban also said he was looking forward to stabilizing the Longhorns’ recruiting class, and ensuring that the state’s biggest high school stars wouldn’t be poached by recruiting powerhouses like Texas A&M and Alabama.
University of Texas athletic director Steve Patterson was effusive in his praise of both Saban and the University of Alabama for agreeing to such a novel coaching experiment.
“Normally we wouldn’t accept an arrangement like this, but I think both [University of Alabama Athletic Director] Bill Battle and I recognize what a unique talent Coach Saban is, so we are willing to accommodate his request,” Patterson said. “Things might get a little tricky if we end up with a 2009 title game rematch, but both Bill and I are comfortable with Nick being defensive coordinator for both sides if that situation were to arise.”
At press time, Saban declined to comment on rumors that he had requested permission to simultaneously coach the Miami Dolphins.