The long-awaited retirement of Alabama Coach Nick Saban has now come. Saban finished his college coaching career three games short of 300 wins, 11 SEC Championships, 4 Heisman Trophy Winners, and 7 National Championships. As the coach of Alabama, 123 of his athletes went on to get drafted into the NFL. Saban's list of accolades goes beyond his number of wins, championships, and draft picks. Now that the Crimson Tide is losing the winningest coach in College Football, the question everybody is wondering is, who will be the next head coach for the Alabama Crimson Tide?
Names like Dan Lanning from Oregon, Steve Sarkisian from Texas, and Kalen DeBoer from Washington have been thrown around online spaces, but the one name that sticks out to me the most that I believe will make the best to take over the Alabama Legacy is Dabo Swinney from Clemson.
Of the coaches in preliminary consideration for the position I have seen thrown around on the internet, Swinney is the only one with a CFB National Championship on his resume. That, paired with his ties to Alabama, makes him at least a top-three coach to be considered by Alabama's athletic department should Swinney be interested. According to Sports Illustrated, Swinney would need to be bought out for $7.5 Million, which is pretty good compared to Lanning ($20m) and DeBoer's ($12m) buyout.
Alabama fans may not find this move desirable if they only look at Clemson's performance last season. Losses against Duke, Maimi, NC State, and a Florida State team that is looking to make a strong case for other conference consideration made for the worst season for the Tigers since Dabo's third full season as a head coach. While the Tigers haven't been back to the College Football Playoffs since 2021, the Tigers have still been one of the best teams in the country by finding themselves in the AP Top-10 since the '21 season at some point. The last time the Tigers didn't crack the Top 10 at some point in the season was back in 2014 when their highest poll position was #14.
It will be heartbreaking to see Swinney depart from Clemson should both Alabama and Swinney be interested in one another. Swinney took over Clemson and brought the program back to the glory it had under Coach Danny Ford from '79 to '89. This may be why Swinney is best fit for the Alabama job. Everyone worries about Alabama beginning its decline from National Title contention, but Swinney has proven that he can bring life back to a team, which is what Alabama needs, which is crazy to say considering they just competed in a four-team College Football Playoff.
I say this about my favorite college football team, Oklahoma, and I'll say it about Alabama as well. Alabama has a tradition of winning. There are certain standards at Alabama that you will not find anywhere else in the country. The tradition down in Tuscaloosa is deeply rooted with recognized National Titles dating nearly 100 years ago. Alabama isn't going anywhere. Each generation of college football fans fear the Crimson Tide at some point or another. Whoever the next coach is will instill that same fear into their opponents, or the Alabama Loyals will find somebody that will.