Six degrees of Nick Saban: How all 128 FBS head coaches connects to Alabama's

James Dator

Each major college football head coach can be connected to all the others by résumé. And, just for fun, let's put Nick Saban at the center.

With assistance by Adam Jacobi and Nam Le.

Nick Saban

The following coaches personally played, worked, or coached on the same teams as Nick Saban at some point. None served more directly than Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel, who was once Saban's roommate at Kent State.

  • Gary Pinkel (Kent State 1970-1975)
  • June Jones (Houston Oilers 1988)
  • Terry Bowden (West Virginia 1978)
  • Jimbo Fisher (LSU 2000-2004)
  • Jim McElwain (Alabama 2008-2011)
  • Will Muschamp (Miami Dolphins 2005)
  • Mark Dantonio (Michigan State 1995-1999)
  • Dan Enos (Michigan State 1987)
  • Randy Edsall (Syracuse 1977)
  • Kirk Ferentz (Cleveland Browns 1993-1994)
  • Doc Holliday (West Virginia 1978-1979)
  • Brian Polian (Michigan State 1997)
And all remaining coaches are connected by a connection to a coach previously tied to Saban. We're calling these branches, even though this isn't a traditional coaching tree.

June Jones branch

  • June Jones - Dino Babers (Hawaii 1983) (2 degrees of separation)
  • Dino Babers - Art Briles (Baylor 2008-2011) (3)

Dan Enos branch

  • Dan Enos - Craig Bohl (North Dakota State 2003) (2)

Jimbo Fisher branch

Matthew Emmons, USA Today

  • Jimbo Fisher - Todd Monken (LSU 2005-2006) (2)
  • Todd Monken - Brian Kelly (Grand Valley State 1989-1990) (3)
  • Todd Monken - Jeff Quinn (Grand Valley State 1989-1990) (3)
  • Brian Kelly - Chuck Martin (Notre Dame 2010-2013) (4)
  • Chuck Martin - Jeff Monken (Millikin 1986-1988) (5)
  • Jeff Monken - Dave Clawson (Buffalo 1992) (6)
  • Jeff Monken - Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech 2008-2009) (6)
  • Jimbo Fisher - Bo Pelini (LSU 2005-2006) (2)
  • Bo Pelini - Frank Solich (Nebraska 2003) (3)
  • Bo Pelini - Trent Miles (Green Bay Packers 2000) (3)
  • Jimbo Fisher - Les Miles (LSU 2005-2006) (2)
  • Les Miles - Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State 2001-2004) (3)
  • Mike Gundy - James Franklin (Maryland 2000) (4)
  • Mike Gundy - Pat Fitzgerald (Maryland 1998) (4)
  • Jimbo Fisher - Mark Stoops (Florida State 2010-2012) (2)
  • Mark Stoops - Curtis Johnson (Miami 2001-2003) (3)
  • Mark Stoops - Larry Coker (Miami 2001-2003) (3)
  • Mark Stoops - Sonny Dykes (Arizona 2007-2009) (3)

Fisher-Rodriguez branch

  • Jimbo Fisher - Rich Rodriguez (Salem College 1986) (2)
  • Rich Rodriguez - Todd Graham (West Virginia 2001-2002) (3)
  • Rich Rodriguez - Butch Jones (West Virginia 2005-2006) (3)
  • Rich Rodriguez - Rick Stockstill (Clemson 1999-2000) (3)
  • Todd Graham - Gus Malzahn (Tulsa 2007-2008) (4)
  • Todd Graham - Bill Blankenship (Tulsa 2007-2010) (4)
  • Bill Blankenship - Justin Fuente (Union High School (OK) 1992-1994) (5)
  • Todd Graham - Matt Wells (Tulsa 2003-2005) (4)
  • Matt Wells - Ken Niumatololo (Navy 1997-1998) (5)
  • Matt Wells - Rocky Long (New Mexico 2007-2008) (5)
  • Rocky Long - Ron Caragher (UCLA 1996-1997) (6)
  • Rocky Long - Brady Hoke (San Diego State 2009-2010) (6)
  • Matt Wells - Gary Patterson (Utah State 1993-1994) (5)
  • Gary Patterson - Dennis Franchione (TCU 1998-200) (6)
  • Gary Patterson - Chris Petersen (UC Davis 1986) (6)
  • Chris Petersen - Sean Kugler (Boise State 2006) (7)
  • Chris Petersen - Bryan Harsin (Boise State 2001-2010) (7)
  • Bryan Harsin - Mark Helfrich (Boise State 1998-1999) (8)

Brian Polian branch

  • Brian Polian - David Shaw (Stanford 2010-2011) (2)
  • David Shaw - Willie Taggart (Stanford 2007-2009) (3)
  • David Shaw - Scott Shafer (Stanford 2007) (3)
  • Brian Polian - Derek Mason (Stanford 2010-2011) (2)
  • Brian Polian - Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M 2012) (2)
  • Kevin Sumlin - Dana Holgorsen (Houston 2008-2009) (3)
  • Kevin Sumlin - Kevin Wilson (Oklahoma 2003-2007) (3)

Gary Pinkel branch

  • Gary Pinkel - Jim Mora (Washington 1980-1984) (2)
  • Jim Mora - Jeff Brohm (San Francisco 49ers 1997) (3)

Jim McElwain Branch

Kevin C. Cox, Getty

  • Jim McElwain - Paul Haynes (Louisville 2002) (2)
  • Paul Haynes - Paul Petrino (Arkansas 2012) (3)
  • Paul Haynes - Bobby Petrino (Jacksonville Jaguars 2001) (3)

Will Muschamp branch

  • Will Muschamp - Tommy Tuberville (Auburn 2006-2007) (2)
  • Tommy Tuberville - Paul Rhoads (Auburn 2008) (3)
  • Tommy Tuberville - Tony Levine (Auburn 2000-2001) (3)
  • Tony Levine - David Bailiff (Texas State 1997-1999) (4)
  • Will Muschamp - Charlie Weis (Florida 2011) (2)
  • Charlie Weis - David Cutcliffe (Notre Dame 2005) (3)
  • David Cutcliffe - Todd Berry (Tennessee 1983) (4)
  • Todd Berry - Doug Martin (East Carolina 1992-1995) (5)
  • Charlie Weis - Kliff Kingsbury (New England Patriots 2003) (3)
  • Will Muschamp - Mike MacIntyre (Georgia 1991) (2)
  • Mike MacIntyre - Hugh Freeze (San Jose State 2010) (3)

Randy Edsall branch

  • Randy Edsall - George O'Leary (Syracuse 1980-1986) (2)

Kirk Ferentz branch

  • Kirk Ferentz - Bob Davie (Pittsburgh 1980) (2)
  • Kirk Ferentz - Dan McCarney (Iowa 1981-1989) (2)
  • Kirk Ferentz - Bobby Wilder (Maine 1990-1992) (2)
  • Kirk Ferentz - Bret Bielema (Iowa 1999-2001) (2)
  • Kirk Ferentz - Bill Snyder (Iowa 1981-1988) (2)
  • Kirk Ferentz - Bob Stoops (Iowa 1981-1987) (2)
  • Bob Davie - Ron Turner (Texas A&M 1988) (3)
  • Bret Bielema - Charlie Partridge (Arkansas 2013) (3)
  • Bret Bielema - Dave Doeren (Wisconsin 2006-2010) (3)
  • Dave Doeren - Rod Carey (Northern Illinois 2011-2012) (4)
  • Bret Bielema - Bob Diaco (Iowa 1994-1997) (3)
  • Bob Diaco - Mike London (Virginia 2006-2007) (4)
  • Mike London - Al Golden (Virginia 2001-2004) (5)
  • Al Golden - Matt Rhule (Temple 2006-2010) (6)
  • Bob Stoops - Steve Spurrier (Florida 1996-1998) (3)
  • Bob Stoops - Mike Leach (Oklahoma 1999) (3)
  • Mike Leach - Ruffin McNeill (Texas Tech 2000-2009) (4)

Doc Holliday branch

  • Doc Holliday - Paul Chryst (West Virginia 1989-1990) (2)
  • Doc Holliday - Darrell Hazell (West Virginia 1999) (2)
  • Doc Holliday - Urban Meyer (Florida 2005-2007) (2)
  • Doc Holliday - Steve Addazio (Florida 2005-2007) (2)
  • Doc Holliday - Dan Mullen (Florida 2005-2007) (2)
  • Doc Holliday - Charlie Strong (Florida 2005-2007) (2)
  • Charlie Strong - Skip Holtz (South Carolina 1999-2001) (3)
  • Skip Holtz - Mark Richt (Florida State 1987-1988) (4)
  • Charlie Strong - Larry Fedora (Florida 2002-2004) (3)
  • Larry Fedora - Blake Anderson (North Carolina 2012-2013) (4)
  • Blake Anderson - Willie Fritz (Sam Houston State 1991) (5)
  • Blake Anderson - Bronco Mendenhall (New Mexico 1999-2001) (5)
  • Bronco Mendenhall - Bobby Hauck (Northern Arizona 1993-1994) (6)
  • Darrell Hazell - P.J. Fleck (Ohio State 2006) (3)
  • P.J. Fleck - Kyle Flood (Rutgers 2010-2011) (4)
  • P.J. Fleck - Jerry Kill (Northern Illinois 2008-2009) (4)
  • Paul Chryst - Mike Riley (Oregon State 2003-2004) (3)
  • Urban Meyer - Tim Beckman (Bowling Green 2001-2002) (3)
  • Tim Beckman - Larry Blakeney (Auburn 1988-1989) (4)
  • Tim Beckman - Matt Campbell (Toledo 2009-2011) (4)
  • Tim Beckman - Scott Satterfield (Toledo 2009) (4)
  • Urban Meyer - Gary Andersen (Utah 2004) (3)
  • Urban Meyer - Kyle Whittingham (Utah 2003-2004) (3)
  • Dan Mullen - Mark Hudspeth (Mississippi State 2009-2010) (3)
  • Mark Hudspeth - Tim DeRuyter (Navy 2001) (4)
  • Tim DeRuyter - Troy Calhoun (Ohio 1995-1998) (5)
  • Kyle Whittingham - Norm Chow (Utah 2011) (4)
  • Norm Chow - Steve Sarkisian (USC 2001-2003) (5)
  • Frank Beamer (Stacy Searels (Virginia Tech 2014) - Nick Saban (LSU 2003-2004))

Loose ends

  • Pete Lembo (Jim Schwartz (Georgetown 1988) - Nick Saban (Cleveland Browns 1993-1994))
  • Joey Jones (Freddie Roach (South Alabama 2012-2014) - Nick Saban (Alabama 2008-2010))
  • Bill Clark (Nick Perry (Prattville HS 2006-2008) - Nick Saban (Alabama 2010-2013))
  • Dabo Swinney (Burton Burns (Clemson 2003-2006) - Nick Saban (Alabama 2007-2014))
  • Mark Whipple (Pat Shurmur (Cleveland Browns 2011-2012) - Nick Saban (Michigan State 1984-1987))
  • Chris Creighton (Jimmy Williams (Eastern Michigan 2014) - Craig Bohl (Nebraska 1978-1980))

Bonus

Did you like the image above, of coaches as planets circling Nick Saban? How about coaches as plants:

Sabans_flowers_medium

by James Dator

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