Is Nick Saban thinking of leaving Alabama, where he’s won three national championships, for Texas?
He may have said that he’s “too damn old to start over” in September when the Texas talk first bubbled up, but his agent reportedly told regents at Texas that it is the only other school he would consider coaching. For now, Texas still has a head coach in Mack Brown.
“[Agent Jimmy] Sexton confirmed that UT is the only job Nick would possibly consider leaving Alabama for, and that his success there created special pressure for him,” Tom Hicks, a former Texas regent, wrote in an email acquired by the Associated Press in a Freedom of Information request.
Sexton didn’t elaborate on those “special pressures,” which are likely only to escalate given Saban’s history when he left the Miami Dolphins to take the ‘Bama job. Certainly, there’s pressure at Alabama and “it has to be exhausting to be Nick Saban,” Yahoo’s Pat Forde writes. It’s uncertain whether Saban merely wants more money or whether something else is going on, but what Forde calls “the Texas two-step” can be dangerous. From Forde:
[A]t his age, maybe the idea of a place with even two percent more breathing room – two percent less “special pressure” – has its appeal. Austin is much bigger and more diverse than Tuscaloosa, with more to do.
No matter how this story unfolds, this much we know: it is another distraction from the football mission for Nick Saban. And with the margin for error slim when chasing perfection, you never know how many annoying messes it takes to reach a critical mass and screw up a season.