<
>
Get ESPN+

Alabama coaching search -- Can Tide find 'basketball Nick Saban?'

There have been whispers for a couple of years that Avery Johnson wasn't completely settled at Alabama -- and there were whispers that the Crimson Tide brass wouldn't exactly be devastated if it had to replace Johnson. After a missed NCAA tournament and a home NIT loss to Norfolk State on Wednesday, those whispers grew louder.

And on Sunday, it became official: Johnson and Alabama had parted ways, agreeing to a buyout.

Johnson went to one NCAA tournament in four seasons, but was four games below .500 in SEC play in his career in Tuscaloosa.

What's next for athletic director Greg Byrne and the Crimson Tide?

Job description

Alabama is an interesting job. The Crimson Tide obviously have money and made Johnson one of the highest-paid coaches in the country -- and before they hired Johnson, the school reportedly offered Wichita State's Gregg Marshall more than $4 million per season. If they want to pay big money for their next head coach, that's certainly an option.

But this is very obviously a football-first school. Nick Saban has built a dynasty in Tuscaloosa and all eyes in the town are on the gridiron as opposed to the hardwood. That said, Byrne could try to find his Saban counterpart with his next hire. Moreover, the idea of not having the pressure of an entire fan base on one's shoulders is an attractive option to certain coaches.