/Alabama football coach Nick Saban, athletic director Greg Byrne test positive for COVID-19 – ESPN

Alabama football coach Nick Saban, athletic director Greg Byrne test positive for COVID-19 – ESPN


Alabama coach Nick Saban tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and is self-isolating at home while continuing to oversee his team’s practices via Zoom.

Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne also tested positive on Wednesday.

“I found out earlier this afternoon that I had tested positive for COVID-19,” Saban said in a statement. “I immediately left work and isolated at home. At this time, I do not have any symptoms relative to COVID, and I have taken another PCR test to confirm my diagnosis.”

Saban later reiterated in a Zoom call with reporters Wednesday evening that he “felt fine” and “was very surprised by this.”

Saban, 68, said he informed his players of his positive test in a Zoom call at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will oversee preparations for Saturday night’s home game against No. 3 Georgia “while I work from home,” Saban said. Sarkisian was the head coach at Washington from 2009 to 2013 and USC in 2014 and ’15.

“We’re still doing everything possible to get ready for the Georgia game,” Saban said during the call. “Preparing our team. I’ll have normal meetings tomorrow. Everything will be on Zoom. We’ll continue to do this. Sark’s kinda filling in, in my absence for anything that needs coordinated in the office. But we’re going to do everything we can to help our team get ready to play.”

According to Saban’s daughter, Kristen Saban Setas, he was “literally coaching practice from a Zoom call.”

“I watched practice today,” Saban said. “I had the manager have a phone. If I wanted a play repeated, I said, ‘Repeat that play, so-and-so messed up.’ I didn’t leave the country or anything. I’m just right down the street. And we have this technology, so it’s really unique.”

Alabama plans to test everybody within the football program on Thursday. The program began daily testing for its players in September.

“Today, I received notice that my COVID-19 test from this morning came back positive,” Byrne said in a statement. “Upon hearing the news, I immediately entered self-isolation and will remain at home and follow all guidelines. We’ve been diligent about mask-wearing and social distancing from the start and want to continue to encourage you all to take the necessary precautions to help stop the spread of this virus for yourself and those around you.”

Alabama team physicians Jimmy Robinson and Jeff Allen said Saban and Byrne were the only two individuals who tested positive “at this point in time” and said the school will follow the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force Protocol for testing asymptomatic positives.

CDC guidelines say those with positive tests must isolate for 10 days, and contact tracing requires a 14-day quarantine.

Saban is one of a handful of FBS head coaches to test positive for the coronavirus. Arizona‘s Kevin Sumlin, Florida State‘s Mike Norvell, Kansas‘ Les Miles, Toledo‘s Jason Candle and Arkansas State‘s Blake Anderson have also announced positive tests.

ESPN’s Chris Low contributed to this report.

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