The University of Alabama announced that Crimson Tide football head coach Nick Saban has tested positive for coronavirus.
University athletic director Greg Byrne also tested positive.
A statement from Dr. Jimmy Robinson, the team’s physician, and Jeff Allen, the team’s director of sports medicine, said, “Early this afternoon, we received notification that Coach Saban and Greg Byrne tested positive for COVID-19.”
Saban and Byrne immediately left campus and went into self-isolation. Additionally, all individuals considered to have been high-risk contacts were notified and will follow quarantine guidelines.
Coach Saban said that he is asymptomatic, as of now. “I informed our team of my positive test at 2 pm today on a Zoom call and let them know offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will oversee preparations at the complex,” he added.
Kristen, Coach Saban’s daughter, said her father is working from home and had held football practice on Zoom.
No symptoms. He’s literally coaching practice from a Zoom call💪🏼 (I had permission to say this)
— Kristen Saban Setas (@KristenSabanS) October 14, 2020
The news comes just days before Crimson Tide’s critical showdown with Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
“We’ve had a lot of challenges this year. Our guys have shown great maturity in how they’ve handled those challenges,” Saban said.
Saban’s diagnosis is not the only high-profile COVID-19 case in the college football world. Last month, Florida State coach Mike Norvell missed a game after testing positive.
In fact, Florida has reported a string of high-profile COVID-19 cases this month. Florida State University President John Thrasher and his wife came down with COVID-19 last week. And this week, just hours before Coach Saban’s diagnosis, the University of Florida announced that it was halting team activities after five players tested positive.
Meanwhile, Saban is awaiting his second test result while staying at home. Since Alabama administers daily testing of its staff and players, Saban’s diagnosis comes as a surprise to many. “You have to respect this disease and the spread of this disease,” Saban said. “My message is, adhere to the protocol: wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance.”