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The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

A New Era: Astounding Coaching Updates in College and Pro Football

@secnetwork on Instagram
SEC Network published this graphic following the retirement announcement of former Head Coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide Nick Saban on January 11, in recognition of the GOAT. Former Washington Huskies Head Coach Jalen Deboer will be taking his place. “[Saban’s] dedication to the players and the university gave the people of Alabama a role model who inspired and achieved greatness,” Alabama football fan Riley Brunson (‘25) shared.

A goat is a medium-sized animal that strongly resembles a sheep or an antelope and is typically seen in petting zoos. But in sports vernacular, a GOAT is the ultimate honor — the Greatest of All Time.

January 2024 has been a huge month in the world of college football. The year started off strong with two intense playoff games on January 1: the Rose Bowl, where the (1) Michigan Wolverines defeated the (4) Alabama Crimson Tide 27-20, and the Sugar Bowl, where the (2) Washington Huskies were victorious against the (3) Texas Longhorns in game that ended at 37-31. The Wolverines and the Huskies went on to battle it out in the College Football Playoff National Championship a week later, where the Wolverines ultimately came out on top 34-31 to win their first national championship in nearly 25 years. 

While the games undoubtedly sparked communal interest and excitement, the astounding coaching updates shortly after grasped a strong hold on national headlines. Alabama Football Head Coach Nick Saban announced his retirement on January 10, and Michigan Football Head Coach Jim Harbaugh announced his move to the big leagues on January 24, beginning a new tenure as Head Coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.

ESPN ranks Coach Nick Saban as the sixth-best college football coach of all time when ranked by wins. Saban led his team to seven national championships (six at Alabama and one at LSU) in just 28 seasons and leads all active coaches in wins (at 292), win percentage (at 80.4%), and bowl wins (at 19). What’s more? His teams have never finished the season with a losing record. Talk about setting the standard.

But sports fans know being the best coach doesn’t just come from winning records or national championships — it also has to do with utmost dedication to your program and for the game as a whole. Saban hasn’t just focused on his own team; he has also shaped the future of the league. While at Michigan State, he hired MSU’s future Head Coach in 2006, Mark Dantonio, who would later be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in early January 2024 as the winningest coach in MSU football history; and while at LSU, Saban hired future national champion Jumbo Fisher and future NFL head coaches Pat Shurmur — former Offensive Coordinator (OC) for the Denver Broncos in 2020-2021 and current OC at the University of Colorado Boulder — and Adam Gase — former OC for the Denver Broncos in 2013-2014 — among many others. 

On retiring, Saban explained, “I don’t think there’s any good time [to retire],” but his age was a large factor in his decision. Alabama football fan Riley Brunson said, “Coach Saban’s time at the University of Alabama shed a positive light upon a state that is often viewed in a negative way.” She added, “His dedication to the players and the university gave the people of Alabama a role model who inspired and achieved greatness.” 

The college football community will certainly miss Saban on the field, but with Huskies’ former Head Coach Kalen DeBoer as Alabama’s new Head Coach, the program is hopefully in for a smooth transition into the new season.

Former Head Coach of the Michigan Wolverines Jim Harbaugh was hired as the new Head Coach of the Los Angeles Chargers on January 24. Regarding this exciting update, @chargers on Instagram wrote, “ladies and gentlemen, we got him.”

After nine seasons with the Wolverines ending with a well-deserved piece of hardware, Coach Jim Harbaugh has returned to his roots and is now the Head Coach of the Los Angeles Chargers. To Sports Illustrated, Harbaugh said, “It was tough. I was torn… I love Michigan, but I love the NFL, too. There’s no Lombardi Trophy in college football. I’ve got so many sands left in the hourglass, and I want to take a crack at that.” He added, “There’s nowhere better to do that than with the Los Angeles Chargers.”

Harbaugh was a quarterback in the NFL for fourteen seasons, and ultimately spent his final years with the Chargers in 1999-2000, when they were still in San Diego. Michigan football fan Laine Jeffrey (‘25) reflected, “As a huge Michigan football superfan since I was little, it is so sad to see Jim Harbaugh leave. He has been one of the best, if not the best coach in Michigan football history. He has transformed Michigan football forever, and it won’t be the same without him.” She concluded, “Despite his sad departure, he truly has completed his career at Michigan and is a Michigan man forever.”

Chargers fan Leila Feldman (‘24) commented, “The Chargers hiring Harbaugh is really exciting because he knows what it means to win. I think there are some coaches that winning is like a second nature for them, and that’s Harbaugh. I think the Chargers fandom has had a few disappointing years and wants to prove that the talent on the roster can be put to good use.” After a rough 5-12 record in 2023-2024 regular season play, the Chargers will hopefully begin their journey of redemption with Harbaugh at the reins.

With such big coaching changes in both college and professional football, the upcoming seasons in both leagues are certainly going to be ones to remember.

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About the Contributor
Sydney Chan
Sydney Chan, Editor-in-Chief

Sydney Chan is an Editor-in-Chief for The Tower dedicated to discovering unique stories and bringing them to life through her pieces. She especially loves writing op-eds and publishing food reviews through her column, "Sydney's Suggestions." From dining at a great sushi restaurant, to watching her beloved Chicago Cubs play, to competing in Speech and Debate tournaments and Model UN conferences, to blasting 2Pac and SZA in the car, she's passionate about experiencing life to the fullest and aspires to lead The Tower with a similar aura, alongside the support of the publication's amazing team. Sydney is looking forward to another great year with The Tower and can't wait to share more beautiful pieces with the community.

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