Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban enters his 13th season at the Tuscaloosa school.
Photo: Carl Juste/Miami Herald
Photo: Carl Juste/Miami Herald

Nick Saban not alone in coaching with hip issues

Entering Alabama’s end of spring scrimmage, aka A-Day, the Tide’s biggest worries were replacing some defensive stars and bringing along two freshman quarterbacks behind Heisman Trophy runner-up Tua Tagovailoa.

After the game, Alabama’s immediate concern became Nick Saban.

Alabama’s 67-year-old coach — through some jokes — told reporters that he will likely be sidelined with a hip issue. He avoided the specifics on the procedure.

» Photos: Nick Saban’s former Georgia lake house

“You know, I’ve been struggling a little bit with one of my hips,” Saban said about the 10 minute mark on video (below). “So, even though they don’t make them like they used to and most players would not be able to perform in spring practice like I did if they had a similar situation. Nobody could even tell but I might not be able to play golf for a few weeks and we’re going to do an evaluation of this at the end of spring. They say, even if it’s the worst-case scenario, it might be six or eight weeks.”

(Editor’s note: Video contains some mature language.)

Saban took no questions, but he did take a shot at the gathered crowd: “I’ve been keeping this a little bit of a secret, but because I have so much respect for this group, I wanted you to be the first to know. Thank you.”

Saban said his intent was to deal with issue now so he could continue coaching for years to come.

He would not be the first college football coach to be hobbled by hip issues.

Penn State’s Joe Paterno had hip replacement, at the age of 81, in 2008. He was forced out of coaching two seasons later.

Derek Dooley had hip surgery to repair a fracture during Tennessee’s 2012 season — his last at Knoxville.

Former Georgia head coach Mark Richt underwent hip joint replacement while at Miami in 2013, after he re-injured a hip that had first become bothersome after a fall off a children’s swing set in Athens. He retired in 2018.

Bob Stoops underwent hip surgery before Oklahoma’s 2015 spring practice. He retired from Oklahoma a season later.