Nick Saban retiring as Alabama's head coach: 'We will always consider Alabama our home'

File: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates beating the Georgia Bulldogs in overtime to win the CFP National Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. Alabama won 26-23. (Photo by Kevin C. Co

Nick Saban is retiring as the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, ESPN reported and FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman confirmed. 

Saban, 72, just completed his 17th year at Alabama, which finished with a 12-2 record and lost to the eventual national champion Michigan Wolverines in the Rose Bowl College Football Playoff game. 

"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," he continuied. "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."

In 26 seasons as a coach, Saban compiled a 274-67-1 (.803) record, including a 183-25 (.880) mark in Tuscaloosa. Saban's teams at Alabama won eight SEC Championships, while he has 10 SEC titles to his name (2001, 2003 at LSU), coupled with seven national championships (including 2003 at LSU), according to the University of Alabama athletics website.

The West Virginia native got his start at Kent State University in Ohio, where he played defensive back before joining the coaching staff in 1973 as a graduate assistant and then linebackers coach. After stops at Syracuse, Ohio State, Navy, and Michigan State, he jumped to the NFL as the Houston Oilers' defensive backs coach in 1988. Saban's first head coaching job was at Toledo in 1990, but he moved back to the NFL the next year as the Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator under Bill Belichick.

Saban returned to the college ranks as Michigan State's head coach in 1995 before moving to LSU in 2000. The Tigers won the BCS National Championship in 2003, Saban's first national title.

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File: Head coach Nick Saban of the Michigan State Spartans looks on during a game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross Ade Stadium in Lafayette, Indiana.  Purdue won the game 22-21. (Jonathan Daniel /Allsport via Getty Images)

In late 2004, Saban moved back to the NFL, coaching the Miami Dolphins for two years, but after a 6-10 2006 season – his first losing season as a head coach – Saban took the top job at Alabama.

Saban went on to lead the Crimson Tide to six national titles in 17 seasons.

His latest team dealt with plenty of adversity early on, including a loss to Texas, but rebounded with the emergence of quarterback Jalen Milroe to upset then-No. 1 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

Saban didn’t sound like a coach looking to give up the job any time soon after the game. But it wasn't a bad way to go, even without the title.

"This is one of the most amazing seasons in Alabama football history in terms of where this team came from, what they were able to accomplish and what they were able to do, winning the SEC Championship, and really, really proud of this group," he said.

"I just wish that I could have done more as a coach to help them be successful and help them finish, and all we can do now is learn from the lessons that sometimes failings bring to us."

Colorado coach Deion Sanders, who has appeared with Saban in a series of commercials, had a strong reaction to both the Alabama coach's retirement and the state of college football.

"WOW! College Football just lost the GOAT to retirement," Sanders posted on X. "WOW! I knew it would happen 1 day soon but not this soon. The game has change so much that it chased the GOAT away. College football let’s hold up our mirrors and say HONESTLY what u see."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.