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Nick Saban to join ESPN as an analyst following retirement from coaching

Nick Saban retired from coaching in January following 26 seasons and seven national championships as a head coach.Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

When Nick Saban announced his retirement from coaching football at the University of Alabama in January, it seemed like only a matter of time before he joined a major network to begin a career in broadcasting.

The longtime coach will join ESPN primarily as an analyst on the set of “College GameDay.” Saban will also assist on coverage of the NFL Draft and SEC media days. He’ll join the likes of Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard, and Pat McAfee, who headlined last season’s GameDay lineup.

“ESPN and College GameDay have played such an important role in the growth of college football, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to join their team,” Saban said in a statement. “I’ll do my best to offer additional insights and perspectives to contribute to College GameDay, the ultimate Saturday tradition for college football fans.”

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Saban won seven national championships — more than any other major college football coach — and turned Alabama back into a national powerhouse with six of those titles in 17 seasons. He finished his final season by leading the Crimson Tide from a shaky start to a Southeastern Conference championship. Alabama made it to the College Football Playoff before falling in overtime to Michigan in a semifinal game at the Rose Bowl.

The 72-year-old led the Crimson Tide to nine SEC championships and won his first national title at Alabama with a 14-0 season in 2009. Titles came again in 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, and 2020. He also won the SEC championship as coach of LSU in 2001 and 2003, the year he won the national title with the Tigers.

Alabama has appeared on GameDay a total of 57 times since the show’s premiere in 1993, second only to Ohio State (59). The show was staged 18 times in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the home of the Crimson Tide.

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“Nick Saban is a singular, iconic presence in college football,” ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro said in a statement. “He is also an extremely gifted communicator, who will immediately add even more credibility, authority and entertainment value to ESPN, including our esteemed College GameDay show.”



Emma can be reached at emma.healy@globe.com or on X @_EmmaHealy_.