University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday along with the university’s athletic director, Greg Byrne, according to statements issued by the university’s athletics department.
“I found out earlier this afternoon that I had tested positive for COVID-19,” Saban said in a statement, according to WAFF, NBC’s Huntsville, Ala. affiliate station. “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,” the 68-year-old coach continued. “I informed our team of my positive test at 2 p.m. today on a Zoom call and let them know offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will oversee preparations at the complex while I work from home.”
Byrne said in his own statement that he too had tested positive and was self-isolating at his home.
“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,” the athletic director added.
A statement from Jimmy Robinson and Jeff Allen confirmed the news, adding that as of late Wednesday afternoon “the positive tests are limited to those two individuals.”
“All individuals who are considered high risk contacts have been notified and will follow quarantine guidelines,” they continued. “We will follow the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force Protocol for testing asymptomatic positives.”
According to Alabama Live, Saban is scheduled to speak to reporters Wednesday evening via video conference.
Saban, who has won four national titles with the Alabama football team, has been a vocal proponent of adhering to safety measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In May, the football team released an ad on Twitter that showed Saban wearing a face mask and urging fans to “stay at home if we have symptoms, wash your hands often, follow all social distancing guidelines and please wear a mask anytime you’re around other people.”
Alabama, currently ranked No. 2 in The Associated Press’s Top 25 Poll, is scheduled to play a home game against the University of Georgia, ranked No. 3, on Saturday.