Nick Saban is shy

In a conversation with ESPN’s Chris Low, Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban explains why the coach had a rocky relationship with the media. He was shy.

According to Low’s Q&A: “I had problems getting up in front of people and giving speeches when I was young. My wife is just the opposite. She probably brought it out in me to be a little more outgoing. She was a speech major and was on the debate team. When I first became a head coach, I had a lot of anxiety in front of the press and media, always afraid I was going to say the wrong thing and created an image for myself that was far different than what I really was. And even though I’ve changed a little bit over time — actually, I’ve changed a lot over time in that regard — I’m much more relaxed and don’t feel that way at all anymore and haven’t probably since I went to LSU. But every opportunity to still say that I’m that way, somebody out there is willing to do so. That’s just the way it is. Now I’m responsible for that, so I’m not blaming anybody.”

I wonder if there isn’t more to it than just shyness. Some in the media are petty, and look for any opportunity to mock or insult. This compounded with the rise of the Internet, and expanded geometrically with the rise of blogs.

Saban’s discomfort with the media also could be attributed to the lack of professionalism on display by many in the press. I’m not even talking about buffoons like Josh Moon or the Miami reporter who released off-the-record tape recordings. While the Miami reporter damaged the press, Saban has experienced at least two other public issues with the press that harmed his reputation.

Paul Finebaum’s show this week mentioned the situation where many in the Alabama media repeated an Internet hoax where then LSU coach Saban supposedly insulted Alabama and its NCAA sanctions; a transcript of a supposed postgame speech made by Saban was posted on the Internet following LSU’s win over Kentucky and prior to LSU’s game against Alabama. Saban was so irritated by the hoax that he appeared on Finebaum’s show in November 2002 to refute the hoax. The coach even mentions the hoax in his book.

Fast forward a few years, and Saban was the victim of another Internet hoax, and this time a Louisiana newspaper (owned by Gannett) repeated a new Internet hoax in a sports column.

If the press were spreading falsehoods about me, I would be less likely to be open. Wouldn’t you?

Sure, not everyone in the press is irresponsible, but this behavior would only serve to make a shy person even more guarded.

Former WJOX radio personality Ian Fitzsimmons said something about Saban that was perhaps the best description of the coach—Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban is an introvert in an extrovert’s job. Saban’s reclusive personality earns him ridicule while a loudmouth like Steve Spurrier is beloved by the press. Spurrier has insulted many programs and coaches, but his arrogance hasn’t attracted the same type of backlash from the media. Why? Because Spurrier is affable. He overcomes his smartass comments with a grin and a handshake. Like an old preacher, Spurrier makes an interlocutor feel important. In contrast, Saban lets you know he’d rather be anywhere else.

Saban’s rocky relationship with the press comes back to good old human nature. The press has reinforced the coach’s shyness with irresponsible and unethical behavior. Given these attributes, that Saban even speaks to the press is a remarkable thing.

Read Chris Low’s Q&A with Nick Saban: Part I and Part II.

15 Comments

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  1. 1
    Auburn is a joke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian

    Cap……This article was a tad bit on the gay side. I mean , come on. Poor persecuted Saban. He is really just a little Teddy Bear that has to be a meany only because of the media ?

    Gay.

  2. 2
    capstonereport

    It isn’t gay to try to understand why somebody acts the way they do. That is the point of analysis…isn’t it?

  3. 3
    DennyChimes

    Not as gay as a coach walking into a stadium arm-in-arm with his players like they’re in some bizarre life partner commitment ceremony. I wonder if Cheeznit wishes to continue that tradition.

  4. 6
    Auburn is a joke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian

    No cap….You are correct ….Maybe not so much “GAY” as ,,,ummmm….Something like a woman would do.

    Who gives a crap about Sabans ill demenor with the media. I personally like it. He just doesnt like the dog and ponly show stuff. He isnt “gay” ……Peple who pine over him like he is a misunderstood warrior poet …..Those are the ones who are gay.

  5. 7
    capstonereport

    people who pine over him like he is a misunderstood warrior poet …..Those are the ones who are gay.

    LOL! Nick Saban as Cú Chulainn. That works.

  6. 8
    Bamafan

    Holding up 7 fingers when you know you’re going to get your ass kicked. That’s gay. Walking in a stadium arm-in-arm with a bunch of football players. That’s gay. Throwing toilet paper in a dying tree and calling it tradition.

    That’s the gayest thing of all.

    Auburn=Gay

  7. 9
    OMNIPRESENT

    No gay is CRYING cause you were HURT(in your words CRippled) and you had to play FOOTBALL and if you lost you blamed your lil hurt asses! NOW THATS REAL FLIPPIN GAY!!!

  8. 12
    OMNIPRESENT

    WOW ITK. Is that all you got? Here ya go. When You talk I imagine FOGHORN LEGHORN talking ya know. I am stupid because I CALLED ALL Of YOU Ignorant BPs out?
    Sir I have 2 Degrees One in Business and One in Computer Science. I am Also a Cisco ( Ill bet anything You cant get this one) and NEC engineer…. HMMMM But I am stupid because you cant comprehend my post. It was REAL easy
    GAY= uat fans complaining about being crippled when you got your guts walked thru! Look dude I dont care if I miss a keystroke or a punctuation mark. I am not a regular writer on this blog as you are Sir!

    Are you still sore becuase I called you out for YOUR OWN ignorance? Dude if you wouldnt throw so much of your obvious bias nature into your writings I wouldnt have to POINT them out! I am not sorry and you sir may at anytime you like KISS MY ASS! Your problem is YOU DONT LIKE ME. You might wanna take that out of your heart Sir b4 you catch an angina attack. Ill tell you what if you try and listen a lil faster I wont have to slow down for you. Or you can just be the same OL FUKD UP uat CLONE and we can keep this up. I KINDA LIKE IT!!!

    WAR POLYTECH ITK!!!

  9. 13
    OMNIPRESENT

    ITK here is an OLIVE BRANCH!
    I am having a POKER GAME 2morrow night at my house. YOUR INVITED, I ll bet you would like me if you got to know me. Its just harmless Bantor and MY BEST BUDDY is a HUGE uat fan you ll fit in. Hell YOU ALL ARE INVITED… Small change 20 dollar takeout.

  10. 14
    Auburn is a joke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian

    “Nick Saban is shy”………..WHere do yall come up with this stuff?

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