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Not ready to walk away

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban has won four of the last seven national championships and reeled in six straight signing classes ranked by ESPN among the top two in the country, but he's also seeing new resistance for the first time.

Saban, who will turn 65 in October, told that people are starting to use his age against him on the recruiting trail.

"I'm not looking to get out. I'm really not, even though I know that's going to start being talked about more now," said Saban, who's entering his 10th season at Alabama. "What I have noticed is that it's the first time people are starting to say to recruits, 'He won't be there the whole time you're there,' because of my age. Does that really impact your ability to stay good? I don't know. But if it did, it would make you say, 'Well, what's up with this?' My philosophy is that I'm going to be here for as long as I feel like I can be effective, impact the players, help them be more successful in life and continue to have a successful program."

Saban said immediately after winning his fifth overall national championship in January with the 45-40 win over Clemson that he was focused on the future at Alabama and not retirement. He maintained that stance Monday to, but he conceded that it's "something that's going to be out there."

Last week, Steve Spurrier, Tony Dungy, Frank Beamer and Bill Polian were all on Alabama's campus as part of the Crimson Tide's spring coaching clinic. All four are now retired from the game as coaches or general managers, and their exits came in varying forms.

"Those guys were all extremely, extremely successful guys, and sometimes by choice and sometimes when things started to unravel a little bit, they all got out," Saban said. "One of the things they talked about is the same thing I've said repeatedly. As long as I can be effective at doing what we're doing and enjoy doing it, why would I ever change? Now, when is the time coming that isn't the case? You never know that."

Saban, who had never previously been anywhere in his coaching career for longer than five years before coming to Alabama, is now the SEC's second-longest tenured coach behind LSU's Les Miles. Other schools and NFL clubs have made inquiries to Saban every year about moving, but he reiterated that Alabama is now home for him and his family.

"I think you get to a station in your life, whether it's family or relationships, a combination of all the above, that you just feel like you're entrenched," Saban said. "You can't even visualize being somewhere else, and that's where I am right now."

Alabama wraps up spring practice Saturday with its annual A-Day spring game.

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