Explaining Dan Lanning’s connection to Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide

Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens hired Dan Lanning out of SEC country with the hopes he would bring an SEC mentality to the football program.

But with that came the possibility an elite SEC job could draw Lanning away from Eugene. Two seasons later, that job opened up.

Alabama’s Nick Saban just announced he is retiring after 17 years and seven national titles in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide are in the market for a new coach.

Everyone is saying Lanning’s name will be on the top of the list of replacements. But what is the tie between Oregon’s head coach and the historic program that makes it such an obvious fit?

His previous connection as a graduate assistant at Alabama and his time as a defensive coordinator at Georgia would appease the Roll Tide faithful. When he was a GA in 2015, that team won the College Football Playoff national championship.

As an assistant coach in the SEC, Lanning has been to and won four New Year’s Six bowl games, including national titles with Georgia in 2022 and with Alabama under Saban in 2015. In four years with Lanning on staff, UGA also won three SEC Eastern Division titles (2018-19, 2021) and reached back-to-back Sugar Bowls (2018-19), the Peach Bowl (2020), and the Orange Bowl (2021, CFP semifinal).

Alabama will surely look for the next Saban. Whether Lanning is that person remains to be seen. But the Ducks are hoping and banking on him being their Nick Saban.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire