ESPN's Holly Rowe praises Nick Saban as 'greatest living coach we have in any sport'

Erik Hall
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama football head coach Nick Saban has won seven college football national championships as a head coach. He won six at Alabama (2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, and 2020) along with one at LSU (2003). 

No college football coach has won as many national titles as Saban, according to the NCAA

Saban may be the greatest college football coach ever, and there isn't much doubt that he is the greatest living college football head coach. 

The most national titles won by any living college football head coach is three. There are three former college football head coaches alive that have won three national championships — Urban Meyer, Tom Osborne and Barry Switzer

ESPN's Holly Rowe praises Alabama's Nick Saban on 'The Paul Finebaum Show'

ESPN College Gameday's football personality Holly Rowe
answers questions to the media during a press conference at Jack Trice Stadium Parking lot Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, in Ames, Iowa.

ESPN reporter Holly Rowe took the exultation for Nick Saban a step further Friday during her appearance on "The Paul Finebaum Show." 

Rowe said Saban is 'the greatest living coach in any sport, period.' 

She was in the Alabama football building when she replied to a question from Paul Finebaum. Here is her full response: 

You know Paul, I think you're like I am. We are fascinated by what we are living and experiencing right now with Nick Saban. I didn't get to cover the Paul "Bear" Bryant era, and I regret that. And so I am soaking in every moment, every situation with coach Saban, because he is right now the greatest living coach we have in any sport, period. And I think that it's really important to soak in what he's doing and what he's saying and how he's doing it. Because we are seeing from programs like LSU, Clemson is experiencing this, this year of consistently staying on top, consistently being in a national championship conversation is nearly impossible to do in this day and age of quick fixes, distractions, social media, get everything you want right now. What Nick Saban is doing, I hope everybody takes a moment to appreciate, because it's unprecedented. When he's gone, I don't know that it will ever happen again, and we are seeing firsthand how difficult it is to sustain this level of consistent success. Because LSU hasn't been able to do it. Programs like Clemson are struggling with that this year. And he's proving how you can do it. 

Rowe is scheduled to be the sideline reporter for the LSU at Alabama football game on Saturday night. 

Bryant coached college football from 1945-82, and he won six national titles at Alabama between 1958-82. 

Rowe said Saban even motivated her during a meeting they had Friday. 

"He said something today that I think has changed my life forever moving forward," Rowe said of Saban. "He talked about the gap in capability. It's called the capability gap. What am I capable of achieving or doing every day, and what is the gap in what I actually do every day. And to be great, you've got to close that capability gap and really perform at what you're capable of doing. Then, you've really achieved greatness. ... Well, I'm not living up to my capability. Holly Rowe, get your you-know-what together. Nick Saban coached me up today, again." 

Finebaum and Rowe talked about other topics during her eight-minute appearance on the show, and at the end of the interview, Finebaum had high praise for Rowe. 

"That was incredible," Finebaum said. "Thank you, Holly. Really just one of our best Friday conversations of the entire year listening to her reflections on being around that Alabama program and Nick Saban." 

Here's more Alabama football news: 

Rowe has been a full-time ESPN employee since 1998, and she started working for ABC in 1995. 

Erik Hall is the lead digital producer for sports with the USA Today Network. You can find him on Twitter @HallErik