Alabama coach Nick Saban tests positive for COVID-19 and has 'very mild' symptoms

Alabama coach Nick Saban has tested positive for COVID-19.

Alabama said Wednesday that Saban was experiencing mild symptoms. Saban had tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the team’s game against Georgia in October but was asymptomatic and tested negative in follow-up tests. That positive test was then deemed to be a false positive.

“This morning we received notification that Coach Saban tested positive for COVID-19,” Alabama said in a statement. “He has very mild symptoms, so this test will not be categorized as a potential false positive. He will follow all appropriate guidelines and isolate at home.”

Saban will be unavailable to coach against Auburn on Saturday after the positive test. He was sidelined ahead of the Georgia game before he tested negative for three consecutive days after the initial positive test. The final negative test came on the morning of Alabama’s win against Georgia.

Saban said during his teleconference Wednesday morning that he didn’t have a fever but that he had a runny nose. He was unclear where he could have contracted the virus and that he was the only person in the Alabama program who had tested positive.

Interim coach Steve Sarkisian?

Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will likely take over as Alabama’s interim coach for the Iron Bowl. The former USC and Washington coach was in line to be Alabama’s coach against Georgia if Saban had missed that game.

Saban, 69, will not be allowed to be at the stadium for the Auburn game, nor will he have an ability to communicate with his coaches during the game. He had previously said that it “didn’t seem quite right” that he would be unable to communicate during the Georgia game before he had tested negative.

“If you’re the head coach, there ought to be a better way to do it,” Saban said that week on his radio show. “I don’t know exactly what that is, but there should be a better way to do that. You ought to be able to have some communication with the sidelines just like I have communication with somebody on the field during practice.

“I can’t directly talk to a player, but I can say, ‘Tell 22 that he was supposed to reroute the guy,' or whatever. You can’t have any of that, and that doesn’t seem quite right.”

Other coaches who have had COVID-19

Saban is now one of many college coaches who have tested positive for COVID-19 during the season. Florida State’s Mike Norvell, Florida’s Dan Mullen, Kansas’ Les Miles, Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst and other coaches have tested positive for the virus during the season.

FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2020, file photo, Alabama coach Nick Saban leads his team to the field before an NCAA college football game against Missouri in Columbia, Mo. Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne have tested positive for COVID-19, four days before the Southeastern Conference's biggest regular-season showdown.  The second-ranked Crimson Tide is set to face No. 3 Georgia on Saturday, and may be without their iconic 68-year-old coach. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson, File)
Alabama coach Nick Saban has "very mild" symptoms. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson, File)

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