BamaInsider - 19 for 19: How does Nick Saban stack up against college football?
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19 for 19: How does Nick Saban stack up against college football?

Alabama will begin its quest for an 18th national title on Aug. 31 when the Crimson Tide takes on Duke inside Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. To help pass the time until then, BamaInsider is answering 19 important questions concerning the 2019 season.

Today we continue the series by comparing Nick Saban to the rest of college football, examine the number of first-round draft picks since his time at Alabama, and look at the Nick Saban coaching tree.

Keep Climbing 

That is the message to college coaches across the Country trying to surpass or emulate Alabama football coach Nick Saban. Since arriving in Tuscaloosa in 2007, Saban has simply become the greatest coach in college football history. From his five national titles (six total as he won one at LSU) to the number of players his organization has sent to the NFL, to his coaching tree, we are witnessing greatness on all fronts.

Overall Coaching Record 

Let’s start with his overall coaching record at the college level. Saban is 251-64-1 (.796 Win%) overall through 23 seasons with a 14-10 record in bowl games. His record at Alabama is 146-21 over the last 12 seasons winning five college football championships. During his tenure at coaching in the SEC, Saban has also won the SEC Championship eight times (2001, 2003, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018). When we compare Saban against other high profile and well-established college football coaches from across the Country, you’ll find that Saban has set the bar extremely high.

Clemson’s Dabo Swinney is 116-30 with two national championships. Jimbo Fisher who just completed his first year at Texas A&M is 97-27 overall as a head coach with one national title that he won when he coached at Florida State and recently retired Urban Meyer who coached at Utah from 2003-04, then at Florida from 2005-10, and most recently at Ohio State from 2012-2018 finished his career 187-32 with three national championships in 2006, 2008, and in 2014.

Currently, Nick Saban is No. 8 on the all-time wins list of college coaches throughout history and is chasing Nebraska great Tom Osborne who finished his career with 255 wins. No. 1 on the all-time wins list is former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno who has 409 wins, then former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden who has 357 wins, and at No. 3 its former Alabama coach Bear Bryant who has 323 wins with six national titles.

Most Career Wins in College Football History
Coach School(s) Wins National Titles

Joe Paterno

Penn State

409

2

Bobby Bowden

West Virginia/FSU

357

2

Bear Bryant

Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Alabama

323

6

Pop Warner

Cornell, Carlisle, Pitt, Stanford, Temple

311

4

Amos Alonzo Stagg

Springfield, Chicago, Pacific

282

2

LaVell Edwards

BYU

257

1

Tom Osborne

Nebraska

255

3

* Nick Saban

Toledo, Michigan State, LSU, Alabama

251

6

* Gary Patterson

TCU

174

0

* Frank Solich

Nebraska, Ohio

173

0

* Denote active college football coaches with more than 170 wins

Number of 1st round draft picks in the NFL 

Since 2010, 28 former players from Alabama have been drafted in the first round. Following Nick Saban's first season with the Crimson Tide in 2007, Alabama had zero players selected during the first round. In 2009, offensive tackle Andre Smith was taken as the no. 6 overall pick to Cincinnati.

In the last three seasons under Saban, Alabama has sent eleven players to the first round, providing further evidence that Saban’s method of “trust the process” works with not only winning games but also in the overall development of his players.

First Round Draft Picks at Alabama under Nick Saban 
Year Player Pick Team

2019

Quinnen Williams

3

New York Jets

2019

Jonah Williams

11

Cincinnati

2019

Josh Jacobs

24

Oakland

2018

Minkah Fitzpatrick

11

Miami

2018

Da'Ron Payne

13

Washington

2018

Rahsaan Evans

22

Tennessee

2018

Calvin Ridley

26

Atlanta

2017

Marlon Humphrey

16

Baltimore

2017

Jonathan Allen

17

Washington

2017

O.J. Howard

19

Tampa Bay

2017

Reuben Foster

31

San Francisco

2016

Ryan Kelly

18

Indianapolis

2015

Amari Cooper

4

Oakland

2014

C.J. Mosley

17

Baltimore

2014

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

21

Green Bay

2013

Dee Millner

9

New York Jets

2013

Chance Warmack

10

Tennessee

2013

DJ Fluker

11

San Diego

2012

Mark Barron

7

Tampa Bay

2012

Dre Kirkpatrick

17

Cincinnati

2012

Dont'a HIghtower

25

New England

2011

Marcell Dareus

3

Buffalo

2011

Julio Jones

6

Atlanta

2011

Mark Ingram

28

New Orleans

2010

Rolando McClain

8

Oakland

2010

Kareem Jackson

20

Houston

2009

Andrew Smith

6

Cincinnati

Number of 1st round draft picks under Nick Saban since his time at Alabama

The Nick Saban Coaching Tree 

The coaching tree under Nick Saban is incredible when you dive into the coaches now coaching their own program or who are high-level assistants at other big-time programs. Saban’s coaching tree is extensive, but here are a few notable coaches that coached under Saban at one time or another.

Current Dallas Cowboy head coach Jason Garrett coached under Nick Saban as the quarterback’s coach for the Miami Dolphins. Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher was Saban’s offensive coordinator at LSU from 2000-04, Kirby Smart who is now the head coach at Georgia was Saban’s defensive coordinator at Alabama from 2008-15, Will Muschamp who is the head coach at South Carolina coached under Saban at LSU from 2002-04 as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.

Jeremy Pruitt who enters his second year as the head coach at Tennessee was Saban’s defensive coordinator at Alabama 2016-17, Mario Cristobal who is the head coach at Oregon coached under Saban from 2013-2016 as the offensive line coach, and most recently, Mike Locksley left to become the head coach at Maryland, before that he coached under Saban as Alabama’s offensive coordinator during the 2018 season.

Nick Saban's Coaching Tree 
Coach Under Saban Years Head Coach at

Jason Garrett

QB Coach for Miami Dolphins

2005-2006

Dallas Cowboys

Jimbo Fisher

Offensive Coordinator at LSU

2000-2004

Texas A&M

Kirby Smart

Defensive Coordinator at Alabama

2008-2015

Georgia

Will Muschamp

Defensive Coordinator at LSU

2002-2004

South Carolina

Mario Cristobal

Offensive Line at Alabama

2013-2016

Oregon

Lane Kiffin

Offensive Coordinator at Alabama

2014-2016

Florida Atlantic

Jeremy Pruitt

Defensive Coordinator at Alabama

2017

Tennessee

Mike Locksley

Offensive Coordinator at Alabama

2018

Maryland

Mel Tucker

Defensive backs coach at Alabama

2015

Colorado

Bill Napier

Receivers coach at Alabama

2013-2016

Louisana

Jim McElwain

Offensive Coordinator at Alabama

2008-2011

Central Michigan

Nick Saban has an extensive group of highly established coaches under his coaching tree

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Kyle Henderson is the managing editor of BamaInsider.com. E-mail him at Kyle@Bamainsider.com