Credit: ESPN

As has been rumored for some time, legendary college football coach Nick Saban is joining ESPN, the network announced Wednesday.

The seven-time national championship-winning coach, who retired in January following 17 seasons at the helm of the Alabama Crimson Tide program, will become the newest analyst on the set of College GameDay and also be part of the network’s NFL Draft and SEC football coverage.

“ESPN and College GameDay have played such an important role in the growth of college football, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to join their team,” said Saban via the announcement. “I’ll do my best to offer additional insights and perspectives to contribute to College GameDay, the ultimate Saturday tradition for college football fans.”

The move was not a surprise as it has appeared for some time that Saban was being groomed for a role on GameDay, potentially as the person to take Lee Corso’s spot when he eventually retires. GameDay host Rece Davis also seemed to know something about Saban’s future plans in December.

Saban infamously had preliminary discussions in 2014 about retiring from coaching and joining GameDay, though nothing came to fruition. In the years since, he has GameDay crew several times for national title broadcasts, including last year when he got a first-hand taste of the Pat McAfee experience.

“Nick Saban is a singular, iconic presence in college football,” said ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro in a statement. “He is also an extremely gifted communicator, who will immediately add even more credibility, authority, and entertainment value to ESPN, including our esteemed College GameDay show.”

The timing is pretty ideal for ESPN and, specifically, GameDay. Few people represent the SEC better than Saban and the SEC’s new deal kicks in next season, with the iconic 3:30 SEC game of the week leaving CBS for ESPN and ABC. While GameDay routinely visits SEC schools during the season, we can presume that there will be an uptick in coverage.

[ESPN Press Room]

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022