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Nick Saban announces he's retiring as Alabama head coach

Alabama head coach Nick Saban, widely regarded to be one of the all-time greats in college football, announced on Wednesday's he'll be stepping down. 

Saban, 72, arrived at a bottomed-out Crimson Tide program in 2007 and within a few years had turned it into the winningest program of the 21st century – and one of the most successful of all time.

Alabama won six national titles during his tenure and had an astounding record of 201-29, with 11 of those losses coming in Saban's first four seasons. His teams finished unbeaten twice, never lost more than two games in a season since 2008 and finished in the AP Top 10 every year in that span.

"The University of Alabama has been a very special place to Terry and me," Saban said in a statement. "We have enjoyed every minute of our 17 years being the head coach at Alabama as well as becoming a part of the Tuscaloosa community. 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. The goal was always to help players create more value for their future, be the best player they could be and be more successful in life because they were part of the program. Hopefully, we have done that, and we will always consider Alabama our home."

Saban arrived at Bama coming off a less successful tenure as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, whom he coached to a record of 15-17 over two seasons. In his first season in 2005, the Dolphins went 9-7, narrowly missing the playoffs after a slow start. But rumors about the Alabama job kept swelling during a 5-11 season in 2006, and shortly after a season-ending loss to the Colts, Saban agreed to go to Tuscaloosa.

Although Saban spent eight years as an NFL coach – including four as Bill Belichick's defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns – he's forged his legendary status in college football.

Saban's first head-coaching job in college came at Toledo in 1990, leading the Rockets to a 9-2 record. He left after one year to team up with Belichick but was back in the college game in 1995 as head coach at Michigan State.

After four years with the Spartans (where he went 34-24-1, including a top-10 team in 1999), Saban went to LSU, leading the Tigers to a national title in 2003. He'd spend one more year in Baton Rouge before going back to the NFL to take the Dolphins job.

Over 28 seasons in college football, Saban amassed a record of 292-71-1.

"Simply put, Nick Saban is one of the greatest coaches of all time, in any sport, and The University of Alabama is fortunate to have had him leading our football program for the past 17 seasons," Alabama director of athletics Greg Byrne said in a statement. "Throughout his career as a head coach, his teams have won seven national championships, 11 conference championships and 312 games, and he's developed an NCAA-record 49 NFL first-round draft picks and, most importantly, hundreds of college graduates. He is the consummate coach, mentor and leader, and his impact is felt far beyond the football field."

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