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Timeline of the Nick Saban era at Alabama

University of Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore introduced Nick Saben as the new head football coach at a 10:00 press conference on Thursday Jan 4, 2007 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Robert Sutton | The Tuscaloosa News


Jan. 4: Nick Saban introduced as head football coach at Alabama, leaving the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League for a deal that will pay $32 million over eight years, an average salary of $4 million per year.

January-February: Saban hires his initial coaching staff at Alabama, including Kirby Smart (later named defensive coordinator in 2008), offensive coordinator Major Applewhite and offensive line coach Joe Pendry.

Feb. 7: Saban’s first recruiting class at Alabama is ranked No. 11 nationally, with 10 four-star prospects and no five-star prospects. Top signees include linebacker Rolando McClain and defensive back Kareem Jackson.

March 24: Saban holds first spring practice as Alabama’s head coach.

April 21: A-Day Game attracts overflow crowd of 92,138 for Saban’s first appearance on an Alabama sideline.

Sept. 1: Alabama defeats Western Carolina 52-6 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Saban’s debut.

Oct. 19: UA suspends five football players, including three starters, on the eve of the Tennessee game for their involvement in a widespread pattern of misuse of the athletic scholarship textbook material distribution system, which touches on 16 different Alabama teams.

Oct. 20: Alabama defeats 20th-ranked Tennessee 41-17, moving Alabama into The Associated Press Top 25 at No. 20. It turns out to be the last victory of the regular season.

Nov. 24: Auburn defeats Alabama 17-10 in Auburn, extending its winning streak to six games in the Iron Bowl series.

Dec. 30: Alabama defeats Colorado, 30-24, in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. It turns out to be a turning point, the start of a 13-game winning streak for the Crimson Tide.

Alabama’s Nick Saban walks off the field after his team beat Tulane. Alabama beat the Greenwave by a score of 20 – 6 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Robert Sutton | The Tuscaloosa News


Jan. 17: Major Applewhite resigns from his position as offensive coordinator to take a position as running backs coach at Texas as Saban makes a change on his coaching staff.

Jan. 30: Jim McElwain is hired as offensive coordinator. He comes from Fresno State and has previously coached quarterbacks in the National Football League as offensive coordinator.

Feb. 6: Alabama signs the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in the nation, a group that includes Julio Jones, Mark Ingram, Barrett Jones and other future stars.

Feb. 27: Kirby Smart is promoted to defensive coordinator. Kevin Steele takes the title of defensive head coach after serving as coordinator in 2007.

April 26-27: No Alabama players are selected in the NFL Draft.

Aug. 16: Alabama ranked No. 24 in AP Top 25 preseason poll.

Aug. 30: The Crimson Tide upends ninth-ranked Clemson, 34-10, in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, to signal that this Alabama team will be formidable. UA rises to No. 13 in the next week’s AP poll, and continues to move up throughout the season.

Sept. 27: Alabama jumps out to a 31-point lead by halftime and beats third-ranked Georgia, 41-30, before a “blackout” crowd in Athens, Ga.

Nov. 29: Now ranked No. 1, Alabama ends Auburn’s Iron Bowl winning streak with a 36-0 trouncing in Tuscaloosa to close out an undefeated regular season.

Dec. 6: The Crimson Tide leads No. 2 Florida going into the fourth quarter, but the Tim Tebow-led Gators rally to win 31-20 in the SEC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome to end UA’s winning streak. Florida advances to the Bowl Championship Series national title game, while Alabama accepts a bid to the Sugar Bowl.

Dec. 29: Outland Trophy winner Andre Smith is suspended and sent home from Sugar Bowl practices after he is discovered to have had improper dealings with an agent.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban and his team take the field for the 2010 BCS National Championship game against Texas in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Alabama beat the Texas Longhorns 37-21. Tuscaloosa News file photo


Jan. 2: Seventh-ranked Utah upsets Alabama in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. UA finishes 12-2 with a No. 6 final ranking.

Feb. 4: Alabama signs another No. 1-ranked recruiting class, with four five-star prospects and 14 four-star recruits in the class, among them future stars Chance Warmack, D.J. Fluker, AJ McCarron and Trent Richardson.

April 25-26: Four Alabama players are selected in the NFL Draft, including Andre Smith in the first round.

June 12: The NCAA orders Alabama to vacate five football wins from the 2007 season due to participation of players who violated rules in the textbook scandal. Alabama’s adjusted record for the season is 2-6.

Aug. 22: AP Preseason Top 25 is released, with Alabama ranked fifth and defending national champion Florida at No. 1.

Aug. 29: Saban receives a raise and a contract extension through 2017 that will pay $43.25 million over the life of the contract, with annual compensation escalating from $4.1 million to $4.75 million.

Sept. 5: Alabama defeats seventh-ranked Virginia Tech, 34-24, to open the season in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Oct. 24: The Crimson Tide, which has risen to No. 1 in the rankings, survives against Tennessee, winning 12-10 at Bryant-Denny Stadium when Terrence Cody blocks a field-goal attempt on the final play of the game.

Nov. 7: Alabama holds off No. 9 LSU, 24-15, in Tuscaloosa to clinch the SEC Western Division.

Dec. 5: No. 1 Alabama dominates No. 2 Florida, 32-13, in an SEC Championship Game rematch in Atlanta to earn a spot in the BCS National Championship Game against Texas in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Dec. 13: Running back Mark Ingram becomes Alabama’s first Heisman Trophy winner. He is awarded college football’s highest individual honor at a ceremony in New York City.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban expresses displeasure with a call during the second quarter of college football action against Auburn on Friday November 26, 2010 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Jason Harless | The Tuscaloosa News


Jan. 7: Alabama defeats Texas 37-21 to win the Bowl Championship Series national title, the school’s first since 1992 and the first of the Nick Saban era. UA finishes 14-0.

Jan. 16: An estimated crowd of 38,000 descends upon Bryant-Denny Stadium for the national championship celebration. Nick Saban tells the crowd: “I want everybody here to know, this is not the end. This is the beginning.”

Feb. 3: Alabama signs a top-five recruiting class that includes C.J. Mosley, Dee Milliner and DeAndrew White.

March 8: The Alabama football team visits the White House in Washington, D.C., to be honored by President Obama for winning the national championship.

April 22-24: Seven Alabama players are taken in the NFL Draft, including first-round selections Rolando McClain and Kareem Jackson.

Aug. 21: Alabama ranked No. 1 in preseason AP Top 25.

Oct. 19: South Carolina stuns the top-ranked Crimson Tide in Columbia, S.C., winning 35-21 to end Alabama’s 19-game winning streak.

Nov. 26: Second-ranked Auburn hands UA its third loss of the season, coming from behind in the second half to win 28-27 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

UA football coach Nick Saban speaks during a tornado memorial outside of Lakeside Dining on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. The memorial was held to honor the six UA students who died during the April 27 storm that swept through Tuscaloosa. Tuscaloosa News file photo


Jan. 1: Alabama demolishes Big Ten co-champion Michigan State 41-7 in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando to finish 10-3. UA is ranked No. 10 in the final AP Top 25 poll.

Jan. 13: Offensive line coach Joe Pendry, who came to Alabama with an established NFL pedigree, retires from coaching. Jeff Stoutland is hired to replace him, with Chris Rumph replacing defensive line coach Bo Davis, who left for Texas, and Mike Groh joining the staff as receivers coach in a major overhaul of the staff.

Feb. 2: Nick Saban and his Alabama staff sign the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in the country, which includes future stars Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Vinnie Sunseri and Jesse Williams.

April 16: Nick Saban’s 9-foot statue on the Walk of Fame at Bryant-Denny Stadium is unveiled. Saban joins past national championship coaches Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas, Paul W. “Bear” Bryant and Gene Stallings among the statuary.

April 27: An EF-4 tornado ravages the Tuscaloosa area, killing more than 60 people, including the girlfriend of snapper Carson Tinker. Nick Saban and the Alabama football team are among the volunteers who partake in the recovery area. The team is later honored with Disney’s Wide World of Sports Spirit Award .

April 28-30: Five Alabama players are selected in the NFL Draft, including four first-rounders: Marcell Dareus, Julio Jones, James Carpenter and Mark Ingram.

Aug. 20: Alabama is ranked No. 2 in the AP Top 25 preseason poll, behind Oklahoma.

Sept. 10: UA improves to 2-0 with a 27-11 victory at No. 23 Penn State.

Nov. 5: In a contest billed as the Game of the Century, No. 1 LSU defeats No. 2 Alabama 9-6 in overtime at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Dec. 2: Despite not winning the SEC or its division, second-ranked Alabama receives an invitation to play a rematch with LSU in the BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans.

Dec. 12: Colorado State hires Jim McElwain as its head coach. He announces that he will coach UA’s offense through the national title game.

President Obama and Alabama head Coach Nick Saban enter the south lawn during a ceremony in Washington D.C. Thursday, April 19, 2012. Michelle Lepianka Carter | The Tuscaloosa News


Jan. 9: In a dominant defensive performance, LSU only has one possession that crosses the 50-yard line and Alabama wins the rematch 21-0 in the Superdome to claim the Bowl Championship Series national title.

Jan. 18: Doug Nussmeier, who has spent the last three seasons at Washington, is hired as Alabama’s offensive coordinator to replace Jim McElwain.

Jan. 21: Alabama holds a national championship celebration at Bryant-Denny Stadium in front of a crowd of 32,000.

Feb. 1: For the third time in four years, Alabama signs the top-ranked recruiting class. The incoming group includes future stars Reggie Ragland, Amari Cooper, Landon Collins and T.J. Yeldon.

March 26: Saban receives a raise that will pay him nearly $45 million over eight years, averaging about $5.62 million per year.

April 19: Alabama is honored for its national championship with a visit to the White House to meet with President Obama.

April 26-28: Eight Alabama players are picked in the NFL Draft, including first-round selections Trent Richardson, Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick and Dont’a Hightower.

Aug. 17: The Crimson Tide is ranked No. 2, behind Southern Cal, in the preseason AP Top 25 poll.

Sept. 1: Alabama opens its season with a 41-14 victory over No. 8 Michigan in Arlington, Texas,

Nov. 10: Johnny Manziel, also known as “Johnny Football,” leads 15th-ranked Texas A&M to a 29-24 upset of No. 1-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa to end UA’s 13-game winning streak.

Dec. 1: After winning the SEC Western Division despite the loss to A&M, second-ranked Alabama edges third-ranked Georgia 32-28 in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in the SEC Championship Game. The victory gives UA a spot in the BCS National Championship Game opposite Notre Dame.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban watches his team warm up for Kentucky on Saturday Oct. 12, 2013, at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Ky. Robert Sutton | The Tuscaloosa News


Jan. 7: In a matchup of traditional college football powers, Alabama overwhelms Notre Dame, 42-14, in Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., to claim its second consecutive Bowl Championship Series title. UA finishes 13-1.

Jan. 19: A parade down University Boulevard, concluding at the Walk of Champions plaza, draws thousands to honor the national championship team.

Feb. 6: Alabama lands yet another No. 1-ranked signing class, which includes Eddie Jackson, Jonathan Allen and Derrick Henry.

April 15: President Obama hosts Alabama at the White House for the third time to recognize college football’s national championship team.

April 25-27: Nine UA players are selected in the NFL Draft, including first-rounders Dee Milliner, Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker.

Aug. 17: Alabama is ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25 preseason poll.

Sept. 14: After defeating Virginia Tech in the season opener, top-ranked Alabama travels to College Station, Texas, to win a 49-42 shootout with No. 6 Texas A&M, led by Johnny Manziel.

Nov. 30: Fourth-ranked Auburn upsets No. 1 Alabama, 34-28, on the “Kick Six” play in Auburn to end UA’s 15-game winning streak and end the Crimson Tide’s bid for a third consecutive national championship.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban talks to the Alabama offense during the second half of a game against Florida Atlantic University at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Saturday Sept. 6, 2014. Erin Nelson | The Tuscaloosa News


Jan. 2: Alabama falls to 11th-ranked Oklahoma, 45-31, in the Sugar Bowl to finish 11-2 with a No. 7 national ranking.

Jan. 11: In a move that shocks the college football world, Nick Saban hires former Tennessee and Southern Cal head coach Lane Kiffin as offensive coordinator. He replaces Doug Nussmeier, who left to direct Michigan’s offense.

Feb. 5: For the fourth year in a row, Alabama lands the No. 1 recruiting class, with future stars Cam Robinson, Marlon Humphrey and Bo Scarbrough among the signees.

May 8-10: Eight Alabama players are taken in the NFL Draft, including first-round selections C.J. Mosley and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

June 3: Alabama gives Saban a raise to $6.9 million per year and extends his contract through the 2021 season in a deal that will pay a total of $55.2 million if the coach stays through the end of the deal.

Aug. 17: The Crimson Tide is ranked No. 2 in the preseason AP Top 25, behind Florida State.

Aug. 30: Blake Sims makes his debut as Alabama’s starting quarterback after beating out Florida State transfer Jake Coker for the position and UA opens with a 33-23 victory over West Virginia at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.

Oct. 4: After a 4-0 start, Alabama falls 23-17 at 11th-ranked Ole Miss.

Nov. 15: Now ranked No. 5, the Crimson Tide defeats No. 1 Mississippi State 25-20 in Tuscaloosa to solidify its standing as a contender to make the inaugural four-team College Football Playoff field.

Dec. 6: No. 1 Alabama wins the SEC Championship Game, beating up No. 16 Missouri 42-13 margin. This earns Alabama a semifinal berth against Ohio State in New Orleans.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, right, congratulates Alabama head coach Nick Saban after the NCAA college football playoff championship game Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. Alabama won 45-40. David J. Phillip | AP


Jan. 1: Eventual national champion Ohio State beats Alabama 42-35. UA finishes 12-2 with a No. 4 national ranking.

Feb. 4: Calvin Ridley and Da’Ron Payne are among the top signees in Alabama’s recruiting class, which again is acclaimed as No. 1 by some recruiting services.

April 30-May 2: Amari Cooper is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft to highlight a group of seven picks from Alabama.

Aug. 23: Alabama is ranked No. 3, behind Ohio State and TCU, in the preseason AP Top 25 poll.

Sept. 5: The Crimson Tide defeats No. 20 Wisconsin 35-17 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, to open the season.

Sept. 19: No. 15 Ole Miss upends Alabama for the second season in a row, this time in Tuscaloosa by a 43-37 score, dropping UA to No. 12 in the rankings. Quarterback Jake Coker emerges as the starter in the wake of this game to lead UA for the rest of the season.

Dec. 5: Alabama, which defeated four ranked teams in finishing out the regular season on a nine-game winning streak, beats No. 18 Florida 29-15 at the Georgia Dome to win the SEC Championship Game, earning UA a berth in the College Football Playoff.

Dec. 7: Georgia hires Kirby Smart as head coach. Smart confirms he will coach Alabama’s defense through the rest of the season.

Dec. 12: Alabama hires former Nick Saban assistant Jeremy Pruitt as defensive coordinator to replace Kirby Smart. Pruitt previously served in the same position at Georgia and Florida State.

Dec. 13: Running back Derrick Henry wins the Heisman Trophy, becoming the second UA player to claim college football’s top individual honor.

Dec. 31: Second-seeded Alabama trounces Michigan State 38-0 in a CFP semifinal to advance to the championship game.

Alabama players ArDarius Stewart, Bo Scarbrough, Jalen Hurts and Cam Robinson laugh as Nick Saban adjusts the championship cap following the 54-16 SEC Championship win over Florida in the Georgia Dome Saturday, December 3, 2016. Gary Cosby Jr. | The Tuscaloosa News


Jan. 11: Alabama wins the national championship, defeating Clemson 45-40 in Glendale, Ariz. UA finishes with a 14-1 record.

Jan. 23: In a familiar tradition, the Crimson Tide’s national championship team is recognized in a parade.

Feb. 3: Jalen Hurts and Jonah Williams are part of yet another No. 1-ranked Alabama recruiting class.

March 2: Alabama and President Obama meet again at the White House in another national championship ceremony.

April 28-30: Center Ryan Kelly is selected in the first round to lead a class of seven Alabama players taken in the NFL Draft.

Aug. 21: Alabama is ranked No. 1 in the preseason AP Top 25 poll.

Sept. 3: At AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Alabama opens the season with a 52-6 victory over No. 20 Southern Cal.

Sept. 17: After losing to the Rebels two seasons in a row, Alabama beats No. 19 Ole Miss, 48-43, in Oxford, Miss.

Nov. 5: Alabama beats LSU 10-0 in Baton Rouge, La., to close out a string of four straight victories over ranked teams, with three of those wins coming on the road.

Dec. 3: UA claims another SEC championship by beating 15th-ranked Florida 54-16 in Atlanta to clinch the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff.

Dec. 31: Alabama beats fourth-seeded Washington 24-7 in a CFP semifinal at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.


Jan. 2: Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin departs Alabama to take over head coaching duties at Florida Atlantic. Kiffin had been previously expected to coach through the remainder of the season.

Jan. 9: Alabama will face Clemson in a rematch of the previous year’s national championship in the 2016 title game in Tampa, Fla.