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#pounditTuesday, April 23, 2024

Nick Saban admits his former assistant once beat him to 1 key hire

Nick Saban in red

Alabama coach Nick Saban looks on. Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama coach Nick Saban opened up about dealing with a problem that he did not used to have to deal with as much: a network of former assistants-turned-head coaches that are in the market for the same staffers.

Saban was asked on “The Pat McAfee Show” Thursday about the challenges of replacing assistant coaches that leave for other jobs, and admitted that task has gotten much more difficult because of how many of his former assistants have gone on to become head coaches themselves. As an example, he cited his former defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who beat Saban to one key hire after becoming head coach of Georgia.

“Dan Lanning was here as a GA, went to Memphis. I was ready to hire him, and two days before I did, Kirby hired him,” Saban admitted.

Lanning, who spent the 2015 season at Alabama as a graduate assistant, was hired as Georgia’s linebackers coach in 2018. He was promoted to defensive coordinator a year later, then became head coach at Oregon in 2022, and has been winning plaudits for his work there.

Saban is pretty famous for beating up on his former assistants head-to-head. Now, however, there are more of them than ever before, and it sounds like replacing them is the most difficult part.

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