Dan Lanning never considered leaving Oregon for Alabama: ‘Made a commitment to the players’

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When Nick Saban retired from coaching in early January, many within the world of college football looked toward the Pacific Northwest. 

Oregon head coach Dan Lanning was floated as a possible replacement for Saban after just two years as head coach in Eugene. 

Nick Saban coaches in the CFP

FILE – Alabama head coach Nick Saban reacts after running back Jase McClellan (2) scored a touchdown during the second half of the Rose Bowl CFP NCAA semifinal college football game against Michigan on Monday, January 1, 2024, in Pasadena, Calif. Nick Saban, the stern coach who won seven national championships and turned Alabama back into a national powerhouse that included six of those titles in just 17 seasons, is retiring, according to multiple reports, Wednesday, January 10, 2024.  (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong, File)

Lanning quickly put the rumors to bed, releasing a video stating that he desires to be at Oregon “for as long as Eugene will have me.”

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In a recent interview on “The Ryen Russillo Podcast,” Lanning said he never considered taking the head coaching job in Tuscaloosa. 

“No. The decision was made long before the season started, long before I took this job. Oregon took a chance on me. I truly believe that this is a job that we can make the best job in college football. And when you feel that way, then let’s put some blood, sweat, and tears, and sweat equity into making that the job you think it can be,” Lanning said when asked if there was ever a moment when he had to make a decision on the Alabama opening.

Dan Lanning coaches against Liberty

Oregon Ducks head coach Dan Lanning looks on during the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl college football game between the Liberty Flames and the Oregon Ducks on January 1, 2024, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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“I’m living my dream. I’m at a place where I think we can accomplish every goal we want. I made a commitment to the players. When you sit down, and people see the commitment publicly, but they don’t see when you sit down on a couch with a family and tell them that you’re going to be here, what that looks like. Some coaches say that and it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. For me, that means something.”

Lanning also mentioned not moving his family again as a reason why he wants to remain in Eugene. 

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Dan Lanning celebrates after winning the Fiesta Bowl

Head coach Dan Lanning of the Oregon Ducks celebrates after defeating the Liberty Flames in the Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium on January 1, 2024, in Glendale, Arizona. The Ducks defeated the Flames 45-6.  (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

While Alabama did not hire Lanning, they did go to the Pacific Northwest to find Saban’s replacement. 

The Crimson Tide hired former Washington coach Kalen Deboer to be the next head coach at Alabama after two seasons in Seattle. 

DeBoer went 25-3 in his two years at Washington, winning the Pac-12 in 2023 and leading the Huskies to the national championship game against Michigan.

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