Airport Season Finale: Nick Saban Wraps Up Coordinator Searches From Sunshine State
Monday, Alabama football coach Nick Saban traveled back to Tuscaloosa following an annual post-signing-day vacation trip to Florida.
Saban departed for the Sunshine State on Thursday, returning to Tuscaloosa National Airport Monday at around 5:00 p.m. CST with a new defensive coordinator in hand.
Kevin Steele, the 64-year-old former Saban assistant and veteran defensive coordinator, agreed to an Alabama return on Sunday, per multiple reports.
Steele had been serving as the Miami Hurricanes defensive coordinator under Mario Cristobal this past season, following a lengthy stint on the Plains of Auburn at the same position.
Here is what we know as of Monday night.
According to public flight tracking records obtained by Tide 100.9, a Crimson Tide Foundation jet left Miami International Airport Monday afternoon before making a quick stop at Coral Creek Airport near Boca Grande, Florida.
This comes after newly hired Alabama offensive coordinator Tommy Rees was seen exiting a flight from South Bend, Indiana on the same jet Thursday in Tuscaloosa.
The 2011 CESNA 680 jet departed Coral Creek Airport for Tuscaloosa National Airport within an hour of its arrival from Miami on Monday.
Saban and Steele were spotted on the ground at Tuscaloosa National Airport around 5:00 p.m. CST upon landing, signaling the highly anticipated end to an offseason of coordinator searches for Alabama.
*The following is pure speculation and not confirmed by an official report*
Airport season appears to be over for the Crimson Tide. Based on the flightpath of a Crimson Tide Foundation jet over the past few days, it is believed Steele got picked up in Miami on Monday before joining Saban at Coral Creek Airport later that afternoon.
The two coaches then flew back to Tuscaloosa, where the jet parked itself for the evening.
Given the coaching stability of Saban at Alabama, the offseason opportunities to track planes and form far-fetched scenarios are few and far between.
Getting excited over coordinator candidates is about as close to chaos as one can get to a full-fledged flight-tracking season in these parts.
This season's speculation is all wrapped up for now, as we expect the Crimson Tide to officially announce its pair of coordinator hires in the coming days.