ESPN’s Low asks ‘Why would he leave?’
No one knows when Alabama head coach Nick Saban is going to retire. But at 67 years of age, it is easy to believe he is going to do it sooner rather than later.
Of course, questions about Saban’s retirement always lead to the next question. Who will Alabama try to replace him with?
If you are a Clemson fan, you don’t like the answer to that question. Anyone who is anyone in college football always has the same answer. It’s Dabo Swinney.
“They would be crazy not to go after Dabo,” ESPN writer Chris Low said during a radio interview earlier this week with the Sports Talk Radio Network in Columbia.
Swinney makes sense. He was born in Alabama. He grew up as a diehard ‘Bama fan. He went to school there and played there. He was a part of the Crimson Tide’s national championship team in 1992 and was an assistant coach there from 1993-2000.
Then there is what he has done at Clemson.
At Clemson, Swinney has posted a 116-30 record (.795) in his 10-plus seasons in Tigertown. He has turned Clemson into a national power, where the Tigers are College Football Playoff and national championship contenders every year.
Clemson has already won two national championships under Swinney, played for another and has won five ACC Championships.
But why would Swinney leave Clemson for Alabama?
“There is nobody closer to Dabo Swinney than Woody McCorvey,” Low said. “Woody coached Dabo at Alabama. He has been his right-hand man (at Clemson). Dabo will tell you that Woody has been such a key part of his success there.
“I have talked to Woody at length about that. I have talked to Dabo about it. I have talked to Dabo’s kids. Why would he leave?”
Why would he leave, indeed?
On April 26, Clemson approved a new deal for Swinney that is worth $93 million over the next 10 years, the largest deal in terms of total dollars in the history of college football.
Then there is the subsequent Alabama clause written into Swinney’s contract. Should Swinney leave Clemson for Alabama in the next two years, it will cost the Crimson Tide $6 million to get him. But that number drops to $4.5 million after the 2020 season and to $3 million after the 2022 season.
Regardless, Clemson has made it a point it does not want to lose Swinney, who is 49 years old, to Alabama or anybody else in the future.
But as Low points out, why would Swinney want to be the guy who replaces Saban at Alabama. He has won five national championships, while posting a 141-20 record in his 12 seasons there.
“Who in their right mind, and I even kid Saban about this, but who in their right mind would want to go in behind Nick Saban? Not someone who has a program that is winning national championships and is playing for it every year,” Low said.