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How Jimmy Sexton helped Mal Moore land Nick Saban at Alabama

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Behind the most powerful agent in college football (3:33)

Its coaching carousel season, which means its also Jimmy Sexton season. Prim Siripipat and Mark Schlabach discuss the rise of Jimmy Sexton and how he came to be college football's most powerful agent. (3:33)

On Tuesday, ESPN's Mark Schlabach profiled Jimmy Sexton, the agent who has become one of the most powerful people in college football.

Much of Sexton's influence in college football can be traced to when Nick Saban hired him to negotiate his contract when he left Michigan State for LSU after the 1999 season.

Sexton also worked Saban's deal in 2004, when he left LSU to coach the Miami Dolphins.

But two years later, Sexton helped make history, playing a key role in helping Alabama athletic director Mal Moore lure Saban back to college football.

From Schlabach's story:

After two mediocre seasons in the NFL ramped up speculation that Saban would return to college football, Saban was repeatedly asked about the Crimson Tide's opening.

Saban famously told reporters, "I guess I have to say it: I'm not going to be the Alabama coach."

But Sexton had been talking to then-Alabama athletics director Mal Moore behind the scenes. When the Dolphins' season ended, Moore flew to South Florida. However, Saban refused to meet with him. After spending a couple of days in a hotel room a block from Saban's house, Moore called Sexton out of desperation.

"Jimmy, we've been talking about this for a month," Moore said. "He won't even meet with me. We've got to make this happen."

"Mal, just be patient with him," Sexton said. "You've got to hang in there. Do not get on that plane and go back to Tuscaloosa."

"Don't worry," Moore said. "I'm taking this plane to Cuba if Nick Saban isn't on it."

The next day, Saban met with Moore and agreed to take the Alabama job.

"Before I ever went to Miami, Jimmy told me, 'You've got to make a decision, man. Is your legacy going to be as a college coach or do you want to take the next step and take a challenge?'" Saban said. "I think he saw after I was in Miami for two years that I was a little frustrated."

The rest is history.

Now in his ninth season at Alabama, Saban has won three national championships and has the Crimson Tide on the brink of reaching the College Football Playoff for the second straight year.