Alabama has been one of the most successful college football programs in the history of the game. That success was reborn under Nick Saban as he has become a living legend for Alabama in his six years as the head man in Tuscaloosa.
His legacy will continue to grow with another national title within reach for his Crimson Tide program.
The Crimson Tide lay claim to 14 national titles and will play for their 15th on January 7 when they take on Notre Dame in Miami for the BCS National Championship game. The game will be televised by ESPN at 8:30 p.m. ET.
He has won two national titles with the Tide, and a third would put Saban as close to Paul “Bear” Bryant’s level as Alabama fans will allow.
Bryant won six national titles for Alabama. Two of those seasons ended with losses, but the title was awarded before the bowl games were played, so his four undisputed titles (1961, 1965, 1978, 1979) are more in line with Saban’s accomplishments.
In the past decade Saban has set the standard for college coaches. His attention to detail on the field and on the recruiting trail has changed the way that teams approach every facet of the game.
Saban has the chance to become the third coach in Alabama history to have consecutive national title-winning seasons; Wallace Wade and Paul Bryant are the previous coaches that reached that achievement.
Wallace Wade was the coach that began the Alabama legacy. He won three national titles in his time with the Tide and with the help of then-Athletics Director George Denny turned Alabama into a nationally recognized brand.
The Tide continued to find success in the years leading to Paul “Bear” Bryant’s arrival, but his tenure revitalized a program that had fallen on bad times under the guidance of J.B. “Ears” Whitworth, who finished his career 4-24-4 with the Tide.
After Bryant’s departure, there were still successful years and even a national title under Gene Stallings in 1992, but the program fell hard after Stallings' departure.
In 2007, it all changed with the arrival of Nick Saban. Saban has this program back to the glory it has achieved throughout the decades, and now he has the chance to make his legacy one of the best in the school's storied history.
A third national title won’t give Saban the most as an Alabama head coach, but his legacy will be etched in history forever as he has returned the program to the heights that were achieved by the some of the best coaches in college football history.
If Nick Saban continues to stay in Tuscaloosa—there are rumors of his departure back to the NFL after this season—his legendary status will continue to grow.
In time, Saban could become the new age “Bear” Bryant for the Alabama faithful.