Tide's Saban commits through 2017

Updated: August 29, 2009, 9:27 PM ET
By Chris Low | ESPN.com

Pledging his commitment to Alabama for the rest of his coaching career, Nick Saban signed a contract extension Saturday that will keep him in charge of the Crimson Tide football program through the 2017 season.

Saban
Saban

Saban, accused by some of being a coaching nomad and not willing to set down roots, said prior to last season that there were "no other horizons" for him in the coaching profession. This latest deal would appear to be another clear indication that he has dug in at Alabama.

"Terry [Saban, Nick's wife] and I are pleased and happy that the University of Alabama has offered us an extension to our original contract," Saban said in a statement. "Our acceptance of the extension expresses our commitment to the University of Alabama for the rest of our coaching career.

"Dr. Witt and the university community have been tremendous in terms of their cooperation in rebuilding the football program. The outstanding support from [athletic director] Mal [Moore] and the athletic department have set the table for us to be successful. We greatly appreciate the time, effort and dedication of everyone involved with our football program, as well as the positive energy our fans have demonstrated since we've been in Tuscaloosa."

Financial terms of this new deal will be finalized after the compensation committee of the Alabama board of trustees meets, likely within the next couple of weeks.

Alabama officials had been working on a contract that would not change Saban's base salary over the next several years, but would award him with a three-year extension, bumping up his total financial package to an average of more than $4 million per year.

Saban is scheduled to make $3.9 million this year. His original eight-year contract was worth $32 million and escalated each year. He'll go to $4.1 million in 2010 and is scheduled to make $4.2 million in each of the final three years of that deal (2012, 2013 and 2014).

Florida's Urban Meyer recently agreed to a new six-year, $24 million contract, making him the SEC's highest-paid coach this season.

Saban, entering his third season at Alabama, led the Crimson Tide to an unbeaten 12-0 regular season a year ago and a No. 1 ranking before losing to Florida in the SEC championship game. He earned several national coach of the year awards for engineering the largest single-season wins turnaround in Alabama history.

The Crimson Tide enter this season ranked No. 5 in the preseason polls and face Virginia Tech on Saturday, in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff.

"Coach Saban has impressively led the Alabama football program back to national prominence in a short period of time," said Moore. "That success has been evident in all facets -- on-field results, his embrace of Alabama's athletics and academic culture, recruiting, and community service. In every way, coach Saban has positioned our program among college football's elite.

"This contract extension is a clear statement of our mutual commitment to building on the foundation he has established."

Chris Low covers SEC football for ESPN.com.

Chris Low | email

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