Nick Saban Reportedly Almost Left Alabama for ESPN in 2014

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    Can you imagine a world where Nick Saban wasn’t the coach of Alabama for the last 10 or so years? According to author John Talty, that was closer to reality than anyone knew or expected.

    In Talty’s new book, “The Leadership Secrets of Nick Saban: How Alabama’s Coach Became the Greatest Ever”, the AL.com writer pulled the curtain back on a hard-to-believe story involving Nick Saban, mega-agent Nick Khan, ESPN, and the Iron Bowl.

    According to Talty in the book, Saban met with Nick Khan, a high-level sports media agent and the now co-CEO of WWE, before the 2013 season. That was also the year in which Alabama’s season was ruined by the miraculous “Kick-Six” that saw Auburn topple their in-state rivals.

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    Following that game, Alabama would go on to lose the Sugar Bowl to Oklahoma on just the second day of 2014.

    According to the New York Post’s Ryan Glasspiegal, “when the season ended, Saban is said to have ’empowered Khan to reach out to ESPN with the message Saban was thinking about the next chapter in his career and considering whether media should be a part of that.'”

    Additionally, according to Glasspiegal by way of Talty, Saban was reportedly interested in taking part in ESPN’s “College Gameday” show. Saban wound up turning away from ESPN due to a desire to continue coaching.

    From a Tennessee perspective, Saban moving on from Alabama would have been just about the best thing possible for Vol fans – and the rest of the SEC’s fans, for that matter. From the 2014 season to now, Alabama has won six of the last eight SEC Championships in football and three of the last eight national championships.

    Alabama has defeated Tennessee 15 times in a row dating back to 2007. That also coincidentally happens to be Saban’s first year at the helm in Tuscaloosa. Prior to that, though, Tennessee was on a roll. The Vols defeated the Crimson Tide every year but two (2002, 2005) from 1995 to 2006.

    Tennessee will host Alabama in Knoxville this season on Saturday, Oct. 15. The Vols lost to No. 2 Alabama 52-24 last season in Tuscaloosa. While the Vols battled tough for three quarters, Alabama was able to create significant separation in the fourth quarter to take home the lopsided victory.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.