The "greatest of all time" conversation begins and ends with Nick Saban. The former Alabama coach has done it all in his career, with multiple conference and national championships, and a coaching tree filled with some of the most iconic names in football, both past and present. 

Saban mentored bright future coaching candidates at every level from his own head coaching stops at Toledo (1990), Michigan State (1995-99), LSU (2000-04), Alabama (2007-2023) and even in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins from 2005-06. Fourteen former assistants currently hold FBS head coaching jobs, while one former player is a head coach in the NFL.

Saban's coaching tree has sprouted countless conference championships and three national titles from both the BCS and College Football Playoff eras in Georgia's Kirby Smart and former Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher. He just had one former assistant in Steve Sarkisian (Texas) lead his team to the CFP and two in Ole Miss' Lane Kiffin and Smart lead their squads to New Year's Six bowl wins. Even Mark Dantonio, the winningest coach in Michigan State history and a recent electee into the College Football Hall of Fame, made a name for himself coaching under Saban. 

Here's a look at Saban's immense coaching tree from every step of his career. 

Former college assistants under Saban

Kirby Smart: Georgia coach 

Smart coached defensive backs at LSU in 2004 and reunited with Saban in 2007 as the associate head coach and defensive backs coach at Alabama. He was bumped to defensive coordinator and remained in that position until 2015, when he was hired to take over Georgia. Since then he's won three SEC titles and two College Football Playoff National Championships. 

Mark Dantonio: Former Michigan State coach

Dantonio was the defensive backs coach on Saban's inaugural Michigan State staff in 1995 and stayed as an assistant with the Spartans through the 2000 season. He would then serve as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State before he was hired as head coach at Cincinnati in 2004. He'd make his return to Michigan State as head coach in 2007, where he led the Spartans to three Big Ten titles and a 2-1 record in New Year's Six bowl games. 

Steve Sarkisian: Texas coach

Sarkisian already had head coaching experience, with stops at Washington and USC on his resume, when he joined Alabama's staff as offensive coordinator in 2019, but it was after his time with Saban that his career really took off. He went to Texas in 2021 and, after just 13 wins in his first two years, he's fresh off leading the Longhorns to a Big 12 championship and their first College Football Playoff appearance in program history. 

Lane Kiffin: Ole Miss coach

Another experienced head coach that spent a couple years under Saban's wings and came out of it for the better, Kiffin coached the Oakland Raiders from 2007-08 and had stints at Tennessee and USC before he was hired at Alabama as offensive coordinator in 2014. He made his return as a head coach in 2017 at FAU and spent the past four seasons at Ole Miss, where he led the Rebels to their first 10 and 11-win seasons in school history, respectively. 

Jimbo Fisher: Former Texas A&M, Florida State coach

Fisher was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Saban at LSU from 2000-04. As a head coach, he led Florida State to three ACC titles and a BCS national title while winning at least 10 games in each season from 2012-16. He also coached at Texas A&M from 2018-23 and became the first former assistant to beat Saban in 2021. 

Mario Cristobal: Miami coach

Cristobal was one of the first great coaching rehabilitation jobs of Saban's career. Cristobal was hired at Alabama in 2013 as associate head coach, offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator after getting fired as head coach at Florida International. He parlayed his time with the Crimson Tide into an offensive coordinator position at Oregon and was then named the Ducks' head coach in 2018. He left Oregon for Miami in 2022 and has a 12-13 record in two seasons with the Hurricanes. 

Dan Lanning, Oregon coach

Lanning was a graduate assistant at Alabama in 2015 and has since served as an assistant at Memphis and Georgia. He replaced Cristobal at Oregon in 2022 and has a 22-5 record in his first two seasons as coach. 

Billy Napier: Florida coach

Napier was an analyst at Alabama in 2011 and made his return as the wide receivers coach from 2013-16. His head coaching career spans Louisiana and Florida, where he's 11-14 after two years with the Gators. 

Mike Locksley: Maryland coach

Locksley wore a few different hats at Alabama, where he worked as an offensive assistant, wide receivers coach and offensive coordinator from 2016-18. He was hired at Maryland in 2019, where he has a 28-28 record after five years. 

Brent Key: Georgia Tech coach

Key was the offensive line coach at Alabama from 2016-18 and left ahead of the 2019 season to take an associate head coaching job at Georgia Tech. He was interim coach for the Yellow Jackets in 2022 and was promoted to full-time after posting a 4-4 record. 

Curt Cignetti: Indiana coach

Cignetti was the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Alabama from 2007-10 and was just hired as the head coach at Indiana after leading the likes of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Elon and James Madison

Charles Huff: Marshall coach

Huff was Alabama's associate head coach and recruiting coordinator 2019-20 and has spent the three years as Marshall's coach, leading the Thundering Herd to bowl games in each season of his tenure. 

Butch Jones: Arkansas State coach

Jones, who coached at Tennessee from 2013-17, worked his way back into coaching candidacy as an offensive assistant at Alabama from 2018-19. He just finished his third year at Arkansas State, leading the Red Wolves to a bowl game for the first time in his tenure. 

Lance Taylor: Western Michigan coach 

Taylor was a graduate assistant at Alabama from 2007-08 and spent several years as an assistant in the NFL and college before he was hired as Western Michigan's head coach in 2023. 

Will Muschamp: Former Florida, South Carolina coach

Muschamp worked under Saban as the linebackers coach and then defensive coordinator at LSU from 2001-04 and then followed Saban to the Dolphins. He has since had two separate SEC head coaching stints at Florida and South Carolina. 

Brian Daboll: Giants coach

Daboll was a graduate assistant at Michigan State from 1998-99 and coached again under Saban in 2017 as Alabama's offensive coordinator. He's currently the head coach of the New York Giants. 

Josh McDaniels: Former Raiders coach

McDaniels was a graduate assistant at Michigan State in 1999 before embarking on an extensive NFL career that culminated as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders from 2022-23. 

Pat Shurmur: Former Browns, Giants coach 

Shurmur spent three seasons as Saban's tight ends, offensive line and special teams coach at Michigan State and coached the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants in the NFL. 

Adam Gase: Former Jets, Dolphins coach

Gase was a graduate assistant and defensive assistant at LSU from 2000-02 and has coached the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. 

Freddie Kitchens: Former Browns coach

Kitchens, a former Alabama quarterback (a decade before the Saban era began), was a graduate assistant at LSU in 2000 and has spent the last 20 years as an assistant in the NFL and college. He was coach of the Cleveland Browns in 2019 and went 6-10 in his lone year with the franchise. 

Mel Tucker: Former Michigan State coach

Tucker has a deep history under Saban, working under the legendary coach at all three of his most recent collegiate stops. Tucker was a graduate assistant at Michigan State from 1997-98, coached defensive backs at LSU in 2000 and was the associate head coach and defensive backs coach at Alabama in 2015. He's since had head coaching stops at Colorado and Michigan State. 

Jim McElwain: Former Florida coach 

McElwain was the offensive coordinator at Alabama from 2008-11 and parlayed that into head coaching opportunities at Colorado State, Florida and Central Michigan, where he just wrapped up his fifth year with the program. 

Geoff Collins: Former Georgia Tech, Temple coach 

Collins was the director of player personnel at Alabama in 2007 and had head coaching stops at Temple and Georgia Tech. 

Derek Dooley: Former Tennessee coach

Dooley was the tight ends coach, assistant head coach and running backs coach at LSU from 2000-04 and had head coaching stints at Louisiana Tech and Tennessee. He's currently a senior offensive analyst on Alabama's staff. 

Bobby Williams: Former Michigan State coach

Williams was the running backs coach at Michigan State from 1990-99 and was tabbed as Saban's successor when he left for LSU in 2000. 

Jeremy Pruitt: Former Tennessee coach 

Pruitt was the defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach at Alabama from 2016-17 and parlayed that into a three-year coaching stint at Tennessee. 

Major Applewhite: Former Houston coach 

Applewhite was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on Saban's first Alabama coaching staff in 2007 and was the head coach at Houston from 2016-18. 

Brian Polian: Former Nevada coach

Polian got his coaching career started as a graduate assistant at Michigan State in 1997 and was the head coach at Nevada from 2013-16. 

Michael Haywood: Former Miami (Ohio) coach 

Haywood was the running backs coach and special teams coordinator at LSU from 1995-2002 and was the MAC Coach of the Year at Miami (Ohio) in 2010. 

Dean Pees: Former Kent State coach

Pees was Toledo's defensive coordinator for Saban's one season as coach in 1990 and took the same position under Saban at Michigan State before he was hired as Kent State's coach in 1998. 

Tom Amstutz: Former Toledo coach 

Amstutz was an assistant at Toledo from 1990-2000 and took over as head coach in 2001. 

Former Assistants under Saban in NFL 

Jason Garrett: Former Cowboys coach

Garrett was the quarterbacks coach with the Dolphins from 2005-06 and coached the Dallas Cowboys from 2010-19, where he amassed an 85-67 record and three NFC East titles. 

Dan Quinn: Former Falcons coach

Quinn was the defensive line coach with the Dolphins from 2005-06 and led the Atlanta Falcons to a Super Bowl in 2016 amid a six year stint with the franchise. 

Mike Mularkey: Former Jaguars and Titans coach 

Before Mularkey was the offensive coordinator for the Dolphins in 2006, he was head coach of the Bills and later had head coaching stints with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans. 

Scott Linehan: Former Rams coach

Linehan was the offensive coordinator with the Dolphins in 2005 and coached the then St. Louis Rams from 2006-08. 

Former players under Saban

Matt Eberflus: Bears coach

Eberflus was a starting linebacker for Saban at Toledo in 1990 and just finished his second season as the Chicago Bears coach.