Yahoo Sports AM: Saban retires

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🚨 Headlines

🏈 Breaking news: Bill Belichick and the Patriots have decided to part ways after 24 seasons.

🏀 Kawhi gets paid: Kawhi Leonard has signed a three-year, $152.4 million extension with the Clippers, removing one of the biggest names from the 2024 free agent market.

🏒 Bedard gets surgery: Blackhawks rookie sensation Connor Bedard will miss 6-8 weeks after getting surgery to repair his fractured jaw.

🏀 Wemby’s big night: Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama needed just 21 minutes to post his first NBA triple-double (16-12-10) in a 130-108 win over the Pistons.

🍿 Another Netflix doc: Netflix is making an NBA docuseries in the style of its NFL show, “Quarterback,” that will follow LeBron James, Jayson Tatum, Jimmy Butler, Anthony Edwards and Domantas Sabonis.


🏈 Nick Saban retires

(Stefan Milic/Yahoo Sports)

(Stefan Milic/Yahoo Sports)

Nick Saban, the most successful coach in college football history, announced his retirement on Wednesday.

By the numbers: The 72-year-old won seven national championships — six at Alabama (2009, 2012, 2014-16, 2018, 2020, 2021, 2023) and one at LSU (2023).

  • Saban went 292-71-1 in 28 seasons as a college coach at Toledo, Michigan State, LSU and Alabama. He also spent two years with the Dolphins.

  • Following a 7-6 transition season in his first campaign, Alabama never won fewer than 10 games in a season, and the Tide made the College Football Playoff eight times in 10 years.

Consider this: Every player who stayed for four years at Alabama under Saban won at least one national championship. That’s remarkable.

The big picture: Saban didn’t just build a powerhouse football program at Alabama — he transformed the university and the city. Since his arrival, Tuscaloosa has grown from 89,000 residents to 110,000, and Alabama’s enrollment has jumped from 25,000 to 40,000, with out-of-state students now representing a majority of its student body.

  • Alabama paid Saban more than $130 million over his 16 seasons there. As Huddle Up’s Joe Pompliano notes, you could argue he was worth more than $1 billion.

  • “Nick Saban is the best investment this university has ever made,” said Alabama chancellor Robert Witt in a 2013 interview with “60 Minutes.”

Perspective: “Saban will be recalled for his unbending principles and almost unflappable seriousness as much as the gold-standard teams he churned out,” writes Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel.

It was overtime of the 2017-18 national title game. Alabama trailed Georgia by three. That’s when Tua Tagovailoa, the true freshman thrown into the game to save the day, was sacked on first down for a 16-yard loss, only to then whip a perfect, 41-yard touchdown to win it all.

Amid the celebration, Tagovailoa ran into his coach, the forever-demanding Nick Saban, expecting, well, some kind of reaction other than what he got. After all, this was one of the most legendary passes in Alabama history. Maybe a hug and a “Great play, Tua.”

“He pulled me to the side [and said], ‘What were you thinking taking a sack [on first down]?'” Tagovailoa said years later on “The Rich Eisen Show.”

His reaction to Tagovailoa that day was repeated a million times with a thousand players, as the pursuit of perfection drove him more than scoreboards and trophies. Saban’s teams played against the game of football as much as any other opponent.

“The more one emphasizes winning, the less a person is able to concentrate on what actually causes it,” Saban often said.

What’s next: Alabama reportedly hopes to have Saban’s replacement in place in the next 72 hours. Also keep an eye on recruiting (one top prospect already decommitted) and the transfer portal, which will re-open for 30 days for Alabama’s current roster, per NCAA rules.

Timeline: Saban’s 50-year coaching career


🏈 Carroll out in Seattle

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

In a shocking move, the Seahawks removed Pete Carroll as their head coach on Wednesday, announcing that he would be “evolving” into an advisor role. But Carroll’s tearful comments later in the day sent a clear message: He was fired.

From Yahoo Sports’ Jori Epstein:

The 14-year head coach of the Seahawks spoke publicly less than two hours after the franchise released a statement about its future. Carroll’s remarks were mostly light and respectful but also did not bow to the party line the club had released.

“After thoughtful meetings and careful consideration for the best interest of the franchise,” the Seahawks said in a statement Wednesday, “we have amicably agreed with Pete Carroll that his role will evolve from Head Coach to remain with the organization as an advisor.”

Carroll’s remarks called into question the team’s definition of “amicably,” “agreed” and “evolve.”

Perhaps the Seahawks deserve credit for showing deference, positioning the coach who spearheaded more than a decade of success to exit on his own terms. … But four years after the Seahawks’ last playoff win and on the heels of their second missed postseason in three years, Seattle decided to transition from Carroll’s competitive but no longer top-of-the-league tenure.

As they begin their coaching search, it’s worth asking whether the Seahawks’ blurred relationship with Carroll is in either party’s best interest — and what, if anything, his adviser role will entail. The answer should impact where they go next.

Current NFL head coach openings: Seahawks, Patriots, Titans, Falcons, Panthers, Commanders, Chargers, Raiders.


🏀 Another night of upsets

(UCF Athletics)

(UCF Athletics)

It’s been a bad week to be a highly-ranked men’s college basketball team.

Upsets galore: For the first time in AP poll history (since 1949), four top-5 teams lost to unranked opponents in a two-day span.

But wait, there’s more: Three more ranked teams lost to unranked opponents on Wednesday.

  • No. 9 Oklahoma lost to TCU, 80-71

  • No. 11 Marquette lost to Butler, 69-62

  • No. 21 Clemson lost to Virginia Tech, 87-72

Tweet of the night: “UCF lost by 25 on Saturday at Kansas State in its first-ever Big 12 game. Tonight, it beat Kansas. Anarchy? Nope. Just college basketball.” (via @JonRothstein)


⚾️ Shohei Ohtani: Tax Dodger?

(Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Shohei Ohtani, one of the most beloved athletes on the planet, may finally have an enemy: The California Franchise Tax Board, Jeff and I write.

What’s happening: California’s state controller, Malia Cohen, is urging Congress to close a loophole that would allow Ohtani to save nearly $100 million in taxes thanks to the unique contract he signed with the Dodgers last month.

By the numbers: $680 million of Ohtani’s historic 10-year, $700 million deal will be deferred until after his contract expires. So he’ll earn $2 million annually from 2024-33 and $68 million annually from 2034-43.

  • If Ohtani returns to his native Japan or moves to another state before he begins collecting that deferred income, he could avoid paying California taxes.

  • California has the highest income tax of any state, with a new top rate of 14.4% for those earning over $1 million a year in wages.

  • Based on that tax rate, Ohtani could save upwards of $98 million, according to an estimate from the California Center for Jobs and the Economy.

An expected response: The California Franchise Tax Board was never going to accept this possibility without putting up a fight. It is, after all, the group that popularized the “jock tax,” which levies taxes on out-of-state athletes for games they play on the road.


🌎 Photos around the world

(Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

(Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

Boston — Jayson Tatum scored 45 points to lift the Celtics past the Timberwolves, 127-120 (OT), in a battle of conference leaders. Boston is now 18-0 at home this season.

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Elmont, New York — The PWHL made its Empire State debut on Wednesday at UBS Arena. Montreal spoiled the party with a 5-2 win over New York.

A fire marshal removes a flare thrown onto the pitch. (Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

A fire marshal removes a flare thrown onto the pitch. (Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

Rome — Flares were launched, bottles were thrown and red cards were shown during a heated Rome Derby in the Eternal City. Final score: Lazio 1, Roma 0.

Chilean biker Pablo Quintanilla during Stage 5 of 12. (Patrick Hertzog/AFP via Getty Images) 

Chilean biker Pablo Quintanilla during Stage 5 of 12. (Patrick Hertzog/AFP via Getty Images)

Al Hofuf, Saudi Arabia — Few events produce cooler photos than the Dakar Rally, the annual event that’s part adventure, part endurance race.


📆 Jan. 11, 1973: The DH is born

No DH has hit more home runs than David

No DH has hit more home runs than David “Big Papi” Ortiz. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

51 years ago today, the American League adopted the designated hitter rule to counter the decline in offense in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Designated sluggers: Six players who spent at least 50% of their career as a DH have eclipsed 300 home runs.

  1. David Ortíz: 541 HR (1997-2016)

  2. Frank Thomas: 521 (1990-2008)

  3. Nelson Cruz: 464 (2005-23)

  4. Harold Baines: 384 (1980-2001)

  5. Don Baylor: 338 (1970-88)

  6. Edgar Martínez: 309 (1987-2004)

More on this day:

  • 🏀 1967: San Diego was granted an NBA franchise to be called the Rockets*. Four years later, they moved to Houston.

  • 🏈 2015: Dez Bryant’s spectacular catch against the Packers in the playoffs was overturned in one of the most controversial calls in NFL history.

*Fun fact: San Diego’s first-ever draft pick was Pat Riley (No. 7 overall in 1967).


📺 Watchlist: NBA in Paris

(Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

(Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

The Nets and Cavaliers face off today in Paris (2pm ET, NBA) — the NBA’s third regular-season game in the French capital.

The French connection: France has produced more NBA players than any other country outside North America. That includes a record 14 players* on opening night rosters this season.

More to watch:

  • 🏀 NBA: Celtics at Bucks (7:30pm, TNT); Suns at Lakers (10pm, TNT)

  • 🏀 NCAAM: No. 24 FAU at Tulane (7pm, ESPN2); No. 23 Gonzaga at Santa Clara (9:30pm, ESPN)

  • 🏀 NCAAW: No. 20 UNC at No. 21 FSU (6pm, ACC); Texas A&M at No. 7 LSU (8pm, SEC)

  • 🏒 NHL: Maple Leafs at Islanders (7pm, ESPN)

  • ⛳️ PGA: Sony Open (12pm, ESPN+; 7pm, Golf) … At Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

  • ⚽️ Supercopa de España: Barcelona vs. Osasuna (2pm, ESPN) … Semifinal.

*The 14 French players on opening night rosters: Nicolas Batum (LAC), Malcolm Cazalon (DET), Bilal Coulibaly (WAS), Sidy Cissoko (SAS), Ousmane Dieng (OKC), Moussa Diabate (LAC), Evan Fournier (NYK), Rudy Gobert (MIN), Killian Hayes (DET), Frank Ntilikina (CHA), Théo Maledon (CHA), Rayan Rupert (POR), Olivier Sarr (OKC), Victor Wembanyama (SAS)


🏈 Football trivia

Carroll celebrates after winning Super Bowl XLVIII (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Carroll celebrates after winning Super Bowl XLVIII (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Pete Carroll is one of three head coaches to win a college football national championship and a Super Bowl.

Answer at the bottom.


🏊‍♀️ Queen of the pool: Ledecky strikes again

(Alex Slitz/Getty Images)

(Alex Slitz/Getty Images)

Katie Ledecky swam the 17th-fastest time ever in the 1500-meter freestyle en route to another dominant win on Wednesday, which is par for the course for the Olympic legend: She also owns the 16 fastest times.


Trivia answer: Barry Switzer (Oklahoma and Cowboys) and Jimmy Johnson (Miami and Cowboys)

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