Coronavirus: Alabama coach Nick Saban tests positive, will miss Iron Bowl

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It’s real this time. University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban, who received an inaccurate diagnosis for the coronavirus last month, tested positive for COVID-19, the school announced Wednesday.

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Saban, 69, who has won five national championships at Alabama and one at LSU, will miss Saturday’s Iron Bowl against state rival Auburn.

It will be the first time Saban hasn’t coached in an Iron Bowl since 2006, AL.com reported.

Team physician Jimmy Robinson and Athletics Director Jeff Allen confirmed in a statement that Saban had tested positive, WBRC reported.

“This morning we received notification that Saban tested positive for COVID-19. He has very mild symptoms, so this test will not be categorized as a potential false positive,” the statement said. “He will follow all appropriate guidelines and isolate at home.”

Saban is symptomatic, so the test will not be categorized as a false positive, ESPN reported. He received a false diagnosis in October.

“We hate it that this situation occurred, but as I said many times before, you’ve got to be able to deal with disruptions this year, and our players have been pretty mature about doing that,” Saban said on a conference call with reporters. “We just want to carry on the best we can.”

Saban, in his 14th season as Alabama’s head coach, said he had a runny nose but did not exhibit “the cardinal signs of the virus,” like a fever or a loss of taste or smell, according to The New York Times.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said he was sorry to hear of Saban’s positive test.

“I hope he makes a speedy recovery,” Malzahn told ESPN. “It’s gonna be a really weird deal playing an Iron Bowl without Nick being there.”

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