Talk about the ultimate, “What could have been?” moment. Texas fans have to be feeling that way after hearing this story.
Alabama won its third National Championship under Nick Saban in 2012, and according to former Texas Regent and Dallas billionaire Tom Hicks, Saban may have been getting antsy for a new turnaround project. Saban reportedly reached out to the Texas Longhorns’ power brokers through agent Jimmy Sexton to get a feel for where the program might be heading following Mack Brown’s third-straight season without winning the Big 12. Hicks said Saban had interest in rejuvenating the Texas football program.
“Another regent and I had the conversation with Saban’s agent and he said, ‘If Saban was a business guy, he’d be what you would call a turnaround artist. He’s not a longterm CEO. Fix it, win and go on. He knows he will never catch Bear Bryant’s legacy in Alabama, but he’d like to create his legacy that he’s won national championships at more schools than anybody else. He’s done it at LSU and Alabama, and he knows he can win a national championship at Alabama; he knows he can,’” Hicks said recently on Your Turn with Corby Davidson podcast.
Hicks said the following conversation with then-Texas coach Mack Brown took place after the 2012 season, following another National Championship for Alabama.
“We had lunch and I thought at the time he was ready to leave. He’d been telling people he was ready to leave. So I said, ‘Mack, I want to tell you about a conversation I had with Jimmy Sexton. If you want to retire, I think you can graciously have Nick Saban come in and take your place and have it be your idea. That might be a nice way for you to end it.’”
But apparently it didn’t sit well with the head coach, as Hicks added, “Mack Brown turned bright red. Steam started coming out of his ears, and he said, ‘That guy is not coming here to win a national championship with my players.’ I said, ‘Mack, I’m glad to see you have that passion. I didn’t think you had that passion left.”
However, let’s not forget what Saban said back in 2013 to ESPN, which was pointed out in an article from AL.com.
Saban told ESPN in late 2013, after he signed a contract extension with Alabama, that he “never considered” taking the Texas job.
“The way this sort of got spun, it was a little bit more like, ‘OK, he got a new contract at Alabama, so he’s going to stay at Alabama instead of going to Texas,'” Saban said. “I never considered going to Texas. That wasn’t even a conversation.
“I knew that if Mack [Brown] stepped down, there would probably be an opportunity, but it wasn’t something I was interested in doing, not at this stage in my career.”
But still, if you’re a Texas fan… “What If?”
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