By Mike DiNovoAssociated PressAssociated Press – AUBURN HILLS, Mich.
(AP) Nick Saban has been fired after two years as the head coach of Alabama, his second straight losing season.
In a news conference Saturday, the Crimson Tide said it fired Saban after two seasons and five bowl games.
It was a surprising move by the team that had been viewed as a threat to contend for a national championship since Saban was hired in 2011.
Saban’s final game as coach was at Georgia Tech in 2014.
The dismissal comes as Alabama’s quest for a second national title is at a new high.
The Crimson Tide have won five straight games, a streak that has put them at No. 1 in the AP poll and in contention for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Saban was fired after Alabama’s two-game winning streak against the Sooners was snapped on Sept. 25 with a 35-27 loss.
The Tide has won five of its last six games.
“Our program is in disarray and the state of Alabama is in turmoil,” athletic director David Battle said in a statement.
“This is a difficult time for the football program and the university.
We are all committed to doing everything we can to help the program reach its potential.”
The Crimson Tide’s last bowl victory was in 1999, and Alabama has gone just 8-4 since.
Its two losses were to Clemson and Auburn.
The program’s financial problems have been well-documented.
The team is now ailing financially, with losses exceeding $5 million annually.
Saban, who turned 63 in November, is the only football coach in the country to lead the program to at least four national championships.
Sabans tenure with the Crimson