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'He's the GOAT'

Jan. 13—Nick Saban sent shockwaves throughout the state and sports world Jan. 10 when he announced his retirement as Alabama's football coach following an unprecedented 17-season run leading the Crimson Tide to incredible heights.

During Saban's remarkable tenure, Alabama won six national titles and nine SEC championships as the program transformed into a national powerhouse under the longtime coach, who won his first national championship at LSU in 2003.

Saban finishes with a 297-71-1 mark as a collegiate head coach, including a 206-29 record at Alabama.

His legacy and influence, however, will forever extend to Bryant-Denny Stadium and beyond. For many, the consistency of his unmatched work ethic — one that led to resounding success for the Crimson Tide — is something to be lauded by those involved in the sport from college down to the prep level.

Here are a few comments from area coaches and others regarding Saban's retirement and impact on the game:

"I've been an Alabama fan a long time and I've seen the years we weren't winning. You don't expect to see a coach do what he's done. It's incredible. I don't know if it's something you'll ever see again and it amazes me that Alabama has had two of the best in Bear Bryant and Nick Saban. You just have to hope fans give the next coach the opportunity to succeed. He's got big shoes to fill. At the same time, he's got to be himself. You've got to do that if you want to have success." — Cold Springs coach Brendan Voce

"His consistency was unbelievable. Doing it as long as he did is unreal. I think the biggest thing is that he outworks everybody. I was crying a little bit yesterday (laughs). I didn't want him to leave. Alabama fans are back in reality now. We've been spoiled." — Vinemont coach Stephen Robinson

"As an Alabama fan, it's been an enjoyable 17 years having him as head coach. At my age, I was able to live through the dark ages (laughs) where it was difficult to even compete in the SEC. The expectation at Alabama since he's been there was not only competing, but competing for national titles. How can what he did be repeated? I don't see how. It's unprecedented." — Good Hope coach Alan Scott

"As a longtime 'Bama fan and Tide Pride ticket holder, I can tell you that Alabama football and Saban go hand in hand. My kids do not even know what to think about a new coach taking over, but I know that we will forever be grateful to Saban for the amazing football years that he has given us. We were blessed to be at the Rose Bowl for Saban's last game, and that is something that we will never forget." — Misty Carter, Cullman resident

"It shocked folks, even though he's 72 and had the energy he coached with. It's a sad day for football. He's meant so much to the game — to Alabama, to the SEC, to college football. His handprint is on the NFL, too. I don't think you can measure his impact on the game. and I've said this before — we'd be a lot better off if he was running our country. The way he teaches you how to coach, how to play, how to live ... if you apply those principles to life, it's going to make things better." — Athens coach Cody Gross

"His success is unparalleled. He's the GOAT. To watch him do what he's done for 17 years ... I don't think anyone can match the consistency of that success. Winning is hard and it's getting harder. It's just hard to get kids to play like that and maintain that level year after year. It's hard to win championships and he's done it seven times. He's a goal that every coach would love to be able to reach. You've just got to have the work ethic to deal with the mental grind. I admire him and what he's done." — Clements coach Michael Parker

"Yippee! OK, I'm sad to see him go, but with the air around college football seeming to shift to more of a NFL style with the transfer portal and NIL I think it was going to happen sooner rather than later." — Stuart Bullington, Auburn fan and Athens resident