It appears that the "Nick Saban to Texas" rumor is both legitimate and gaining traction. As first reported by Inside Texas and then confirmed by ESPN radio, Nick Saban's wife, Terry, was in Austin two weeks ago house hunting with her daughter-in-law.
Inside Texas' Jesus Shuttleworth, whose weekly column has grown a cult-like following, was the first to report on Nick Saban's agent Jimmy Sexton speaking with Texas regents nine months ago. He also was one of the first to report about Texas' athletic director DeLoss Dodds end-of-year retirement. Suffice it to say, his credibility remains unquestioned.
Today on Adams and Loeb, ESPN's afternoon radio show in the Austin area, Alex Loeb doubled down on this report, claiming that his sources also believe it to be true. Burnt Orange Nation's Michael Pelech was listening at the time and describes the conversation below:
Alex Loeb who hosts the afternoon show on 104.9 in Austin with Sean Adams was saying how there was the Wallace Hall reaching out to Saban's agent story...then a few weeks ago there were reports that were pretty detailed about Terry Saban househunting in Austin, and that the report had a realtor's name and dollar figures and neighborhoods...and that he did some digging with people he trusts and that the report was completely true.
The original report on Inside Texas gives more details about Terry Saban's trip to Austin, including realtor information, ties with that agent to the athletic department, shady real estate dealings in Alabama, and Saban's relationship with Texas athletic department employees who likely helped set up the meeting. However, the report concedes that Mrs. Saban stated that she was only interested in purchasing a "vacation home" in the area.
So what is to be made of this report? With the backing of major players like ESPN allowing it over the airwaves and the historically accurate Jesus Shuttlesworth detailing her trip, it would be ignorant to just treat as hearsay. But it does lead to some important questions that need to be asked.
Why would Saban, the most methodical man in the country, allow his wife to travel to Austin at a time when the Texas coaching vacancy is all but announced? Did Saban think that this trip could have been done in secrecy? Does he really care if it gets out? (We've seen how he's treated job exits before.) Is Austin actually a city where people vacation?
It'll be interesting to see how this one plays out as the Nick Saban-to-Texas rumors continue apace.
Update (3:50pm)- ESPN Austin's Erin Hogan is also reporting these rumors, including intel from someone inside Travis County's sheriff's office who claims to have helped with Mrs. Saban's security.
KXAN has now reported that the Travis County Sheriff's office could not confirm that they assisted with any security escorts for Mrs. Saban.