I promise, this will be the last time I make reference to the old Nick Saban-to-Texas speculation. Probably.
During the 2013 season, it was an open secret that Texas, even as Mack Brown was technically in place as head coach, was in lust with Nick Saban, with the Alabama coach’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, playing point man in at least a couple of meetings with those connected to the Longhorns football programs. Even as Saban, and perhaps more importantly his wife, publicly stated on a couple of occasions that he was staying put, there was significant angst in Tuscaloosa as UA officials were “getting nervous about the lack of a response” from Saban on a new contract proposal.
In an unauthorized biography set to be released early next month titled “Saban, the Making of a Coach, Forbes writer Monte Burke devotes an entire 17-page chapter of his book to the Saban-Texas saga — deftly titled “Texas Hold ‘Em.” While there’s not a whole lot of new information in the clips that have come out thus far, there are a couple of little nuggets that are worth noting.
From excerpts obtained by al.com:
- Sexton reportedly told UT boosters that his client fancied himself as more of “a turnaround artist than a long-term CEO,” meaning Saban didn’t like to stay in one place for too long, even as Saban stated publicly amidst the rumors that he’s “just too damn old to start over.” That ultimately, at least thus far, proved to agent-speak on Sexton’s part as Saban is now entering his ninth season at ‘Bama, four years longer than his five-year stints at both LSU and Michigan State.
- Sexton also reportedly told the same boosters that Texas was the only school that for which Saban would consider leaving Alabama. That matches up with an outstanding Associated Press report from November of 2013, which quoted a UT regent from documents obtained by the AP.
- “But a number of factors kept Texas in play during a rough 2013 for Saban,” al.com wrote. “The exploding expectations of Alabama fans and boosters after three titles in four years were agitating Saban. There was also the spring death of AD Mal Moore who brought Saban to Alabama. Then in the fall, Saban’s coaching mentor Don James passed away. There was also the lawsuit involving Saban’s daughter Kristen and a former sorority sister she allegedly assaulted.”
- Then-new UT athletic director Steve Patterson warned Sexton in November of 2013 that he’d better not be using his school to get a better deal from Saban’s current one, with the agent taking offense to the suggestion. One month later, a new contract between Saban and UA was announced that would ultimately pay the coach nearly $7 million annually on average.
- Perhaps most importantly, at least to Tide Nation, Patterson confirmed to Burke that he never spoke to Saban during the months of speculation and that no contract was ever offered. It had been reported in another book, this one from Paul Finebaum in July of last year, that “the Longhorns were prepared to give Saban somewhere between a $12 and $15 million signing bonus and a salary package worth $100 million (plus performances).” Additionally, Saban, per the book, never had any direct conversations with anyone connected to the university about taking over for Brown.
All’s well that ends well, despite the constant speculation leading up to the new contract extension.
“I never considered going to Texas. That wasn’t even a conversation,” Saban said after the new deal was announced. “I knew that if Mack stepped down, there would probably be an opportunity, but it wasn’t something I was interested in doing, not at this stage in my career.”