Who could replace Nick Saban at Alabama? Dan Lanning, Steve Sarkisian and other candidates

Alabama's Nick Saban is retiring. Saban, 72, will go down as the greatest coach in college football history. He won seven national titles, one at LSU and six with the Crimson Tide.

Saban restored Alabama to the top of the college football world, left a huge legacy and has the greatest coaching tree in the game. Replacing him will be a monumental task for Alabama and athletic director Greg Byrne.

Some former Saban supporters are among the names industry sources expect to be considered.

Dan Lanning of Oregon A former graduate assistant under Saban and rising through the coaching ranks, he helped Georgia win a national title as defensive coordinator, then went 22-5 in Eugene. Lanning is 37 years old, but she is wise beyond her years. He can put together good staff, hire at the highest level and is adept at the Name, Image and Appearance (NIL) front. I'm told his family likes it a lot at Oregon, and he's got a team for 2024 that is a favorite to win the Big Ten in its first season. DThe terms of the contract with the school for his buyout are a hefty $20 million, but I've heard that if Lanning ducks out of the job, it could actually cost more. The Tide football program has been printing money under Saban. Does Lanning want to be the guy who takes over for Saban? He's got a good job, but a place where no one has ever won a national title.

Steve Sarkisian of Texas After off-field issues ended his brief tenure at USC, he resurrected his career in Tuscaloosa. Sarkisian, 49, learned well under Saban about how to run a program, and his offensive philosophy evolved. He went 25-14 in three years at Texas. This season, Sarkisian's Longhorns went 12-2 and made the College Football Playoff by defeating Bama in Tuscaloosa.

Texas coach Steve Sarkisian left and resurrected his career at Alabama. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The 2023 Horns were the best Texas team tournament coaches said they had seen in years. “It's not even close,” said one Big 12 analyst. “Outside of talent, it's very disciplined, as well as tough. They're always going to be very talented, but we're always going to be a tough team and we've always thought we can approach them mentally. I think they're more disciplined than they've ever been. That's a big compliment to Sir. “

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Sarkisian is said to have impressed the Tide brass during his time at Alabama. Will he leave a good situation he worked hard to build in Austin for a legend who will leave a huge shadow? Is it a better job than what he has?

Cullen DeBoer of Washington Has done a remarkable job in two seasons in Seattle. He took a 4-8 team two years ago and led them to the national title game this season. DeBoer, 49, who won three NAIA national titles at Sioux Falls, has an impressive career record of 104-12. Over the last two years, the Huskies went 10-1 and against top 25 teams. DeBoer is 12-2 all-time against ranked opponents.

“As head coaches, we all talk about balance at this point, but he lives it,” Washington State coach Jake Dickert said. Athletic Last week. “He's so cool, so collected. He's able to stay in every moment and keep pushing through it. Right, wrong or indifferent, he's proven that coaching is so important because most of the guys on that roster were on a 4-8 team two years ago — and I know ( Quarterback (Michael) Benix was gone, but all the other guys were still there. It's unbelievable what he's done to replace those guys. I know he's got the respect of the entire coaching world.

The South Dakota native is an amazing creator of mind and culture. She loves it in Washington, and her daughter will be a freshman on the Huskies softball team next year. He's never worked in the SEC, which might give some at Alabama pause because that league is considered a different animal, but DeBoer recently hired Jimmy Sexton, the same agent as Saban, and several other SEC coaches. The Bama opening could lead Sexton to negotiate bigger raises for other coaches.

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Florida State's Mike Norvell His team may leave the ACC before the end. Norvell, who has done a fantastic job rebuilding the Knowles, has a $4 million buyout. He took over a reeling program and went 13-1 in four seasons with three wins, five wins, 10 wins and a playoff berth. The 42-year-old Texan, like DeBoer, has never coached in the SEC. But Norvell has shown he has a great understanding of working the transfer portal and could be an interesting fit for the Tide.

Dabo Swinney of Clemson Played at Alabama. He led his alma mater and Saban to two national titles. He is a perfect fit for the Tigers, but many around the game feel he has struggled to adjust to life with the transfer portal. His plan has backfired over the past few years. After six to four finishes (and two of those national titles), the Tigers ranked No. 14, no. 13 and this year's no. have completed 20 It's doubtful he'll want to replace Saban, and it's unclear whether Alabama will follow him. .

(Top photo of Oregon coach Dan Lanning: Supham Im / USA TODAY)

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