WV Native and 7 Time National Champion, Nick Saban Retires

Nick Saban, the king of college football, has officially retired. 297 wins. Nine SEC Championships. Four Heisman Trophy Winners and 44 first round picks to the NFL. Seven National Championships. Ranked Number One in the AP Poll for 15 Straight Seasons. After going 7-6 in his first year at Alabama, Saban went on to win at least 10 games in the next 16 seasons with The Tide.

So why are we talking about Nick Saban on Mountaineer Sports? Well, its because Saban was born in Marion County, West Virginia. He also happens to come from the “Coaching Cradle” of football which stretches 315 miles from Toledo, OH to Fairmont, WV. Greats like Paul Brown, Don Shula, Chuck Noll, Ara Parseghian, Bo Schembechler, Don James, Lou Holtz, Jim Tressel, Bob Stoops, Les Miles, Urban Meyer, Jimbo Fisher and the Harbaugh brothers, Jim and John.

Nick was born to Mary and Nick Lou Saban Sr. He graduated from Monongah High School in the small community of Monongah, West Virginia, about 25 miles from Morgantown. Saban won the state championship at Monongah High in 1968 as the quarterback.

If you’re looking for a great backstory on Nick Saban and Monongah, West Virginia, check out “This Place Matters by Clay Skipper.”

Also check out “Nick Saban’s West Virginian hometown roots run deep” by ESPN from five years ago.

On December 18, 1971, Saban married Terry Constable (The Queen of Tuscaloosa), also from West Virginia. In 1973, he graduated from Kent State University. Saban played defensive back for Kent State. Here’s an odd piece of history you may have not known. According to Wikipedia, he and his roommate avoided being part of the Kent State shootings, on May 4, 1970, when they decided to eat lunch before walking to the rally area. Four students were shot and killed by national guardsman during a Vietnam war protest. Nine other students were injured that day.

Nick began his coaching career at Kent State. He then worked for one year at Syracuse before joining Frank Cignetti at WVU in 1978 as an assistant coach. From there he went to Ohio State, Navy, Michigan State, Houston Oilers, Toledo, and the Cleveland Browns. In 1995, Saban became the head coach at Michigan State. Saban had success at Michigan State getting them to three straight bowl games and then beating No. 1 Ohio State in 1998 and going 9-2 in 1999. Later that year he became the head coach of LSU and won his first national championship in 2003. After LSU, Coach Saban took another shot at the NFL as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. After two seasons, he returned to Alabama and the rest is history.

The 72-year-old Saban brought championships back to an Alabama program once ruled by the legend, Paul “Bear” Bryant. Once considered the greatest college football coach of all time, Paul “Bear” Bryant was the winningest coach in the sport’s history when he retired in 1982, and his six national championships at Alabama were the most all time until Nick Saban won his seventh in 2020. As Saban racked up wins, Nick and Terry’s celebrity status reached royalty level in Alabama.

Saban won six of his titles at Alabama but won his first at Alabama rival, LSU in 2003.

Saban’s wife Terry said, “It has been an incredible run these last 17 years at the University of Alabama and we take with us many amazing memories. We hope that the Saban legacy will be about helping others and making a positive difference in people’s lives as well as the winning tradition on the field.”

“The University of Alabama has been a very special place to Terry and me,” Saban said in a statement. “It is not just about how many games we won and lost, but it’s about the legacy and how we went about it. We always tried to do it the right way.”

So coach, from all of us West Virginians, across the state and around the nation, we salute you and congratulate you for becoming the greatest college football coach of all time. Enjoy your well earned retirement with Miss Terry.