TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Nick Saban, who has already won three national championships at Alabama and is seeking another in this year's College Football Playoff, has become accustomed to chatter that he may seek a new coaching challenge, but reiterated this week that he doesn't see himself coaching anywhere else before retiring.
"No, I really don't. I don't see it ever happening, and I know every year somebody has me going somewhere else," Saban told ESPN.com in a wide-ranging interview. "I think a lot of it isn't just about the coaching part. What people don't understand is they forget you're a person. They forget you have a wife and two kids and a grandbaby, and they all live in Birmingham.
"They all work here. My wife goes to Birmingham five times a week. My mom lives in Birmingham now after moving from Myrtle Beach. It's not just the job. A lot of people don't get that. My life is here."
Alabama takes on Michigan State on New Year's Eve in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. Saban has either won a national title or coached the Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff five of the past seven years. Alabama also repeated this season as SEC champion, the first time in 17 years that the league has produced a repeat champion. But when the Tide won the SEC title a year ago and then lost to Ohio State in the playoff, much of the narrative surrounding Alabama was that the program might be showing some signs of vulnerability, especially when it lost at home this season in Week 3 to Ole Miss.
Such gaudy expectations can take their toll on even somebody as driven as Saban, but not to the point that he is looking for new coaching horizons.
"I guess I don't really think about it that way," said Saban, who is 35-5 in his past 40 games against SEC competition. "If anything, it's trying to always be able to overcome the obstacles to continue to be that successful. That's what is always on my mind, knowing what it's going to take, whether it's in recruiting, staff or internal attitude and chemistry, to be able to accomplish what we all want to accomplish.
"But I know a day is coming where that standard can't be met. You cannot keep that up. There's going to be some period of time ... where you're not at that level. If you look at every coach's record, it's just not possible to sustain that level of success all the time."
Saban has been heartened by the way this team has handled its business leading up to the Michigan State game.
"The biggest difference in this team and the last two years is this team seems to have a little more want-to about them," Saban said. "They want to be great. Some of our teams here have been complacent -- like last year, I was disappointed in the way we prepared for the Ohio State game. We had too many people not happy at the Sugar Bowl about having to practice and doing what we had to do. It was a little bit of a grind. These guys don't look at it that way. They're excited to be in the playoff. They're excited to still be playing.
"The attitude part, I like a lot better. There's a better disposition. That doesn't mean we're going to play well in the game or anything else, but there's a better disposition and we're going about it the right way."