Auburn defensive coordinator Nick Saban has a new home, but he’ll still be a SEC coach for life.
After the NCAA began requiring more than 20 coaches to submit an application and provide documents about their background and their potential to coach in the conference, Saban’s former team at LSU and the Alabama Crimson Tide had their options narrowed to LSU’s Les Miles and Alabama’s Nick Bryant.
Saban, the nation’s most decorated coach, said the move is “the right decision.”
“I’m very happy,” Saban said Wednesday.
“I’m so happy for them both.
I just wanted to thank them for the opportunity.
It’s been a dream come true.”
Saban had been a candidate for the SEC job for the past several months and it was the only school he wanted to go to when it was announced.
The job is a six-year extension and Saban’s contract expires after the 2020-21 season.
Saban is scheduled to earn $3.9 million in base salary for the 2020 season, but that doesn’t include the full $1.9 billion in annual base salary the SEC is paying coaches.
“We’re very happy with where we are right now,” Saban added.
“We’ve got a great group of coaches.
We’re very excited about what we’re doing.”
Sabans decision to leave LSU and take the SEC position is likely to have ripple effects for the sport.
The SEC is in the midst of a major upheaval after a record-breaking year for recruiting, but the league still has a strong foundation of coaches and talent.
The move to require the new coaches to apply to the league is part of a broader move to expand the sport of college football.
The NCAA will begin accepting applications for the 2019-20 season on Jan. 1.
The league will expand to 16 teams by 2019-2020.
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive is expected to announce a new conference champion on Thursday, and Saban and his former team have the final say on who will play in that final game.
There are a few questions Saban will need to answer for his decision.
The last time Saban coached at LSU was the 2007-08 season, when he was the Tigers’ head coach.
He will likely have a chance to return to the Tigers this season, and his experience coaching in the SEC will be helpful for LSU as it continues its rebuild.
The Tigers will also have more options to recruit players, as they will have to replace four starters in their program.
“I just feel I’m a great fit,” Saban, 56, said.
“It’s going to be great for LSU.
I’ve been fortunate to have such a great relationship with the university and all of the people at LSU.
It will be great.
It is a big opportunity for me to be a part of this and I think it’s going a long way in helping LSU to build a stronger program and a better program.”
Sabanks last season in Baton Rouge, LSU was ranked by 247Sports as the No. 6-ranked team in the country and had a 6-4 record.
LSU won five games against top-10 opponents and lost one game to Alabama.
LSU also won a conference title and reached the Sweet 16.
Sabans record at LSU last season was 5-8.
Saban’s record at Auburn was 6-8 and he won four games against the Tigers, but they lost to Florida.
Sabanic will have some tough decisions to make.
He won the SEC championship in 2016, but LSU finished last season as the fourth-worst team in college football and lost the SEC title game to Auburn.
Saban has said he would not have stayed at LSU for another season if he had been asked to.