20 Random Things About Alabama’s Nick Saban

Alabama football coach Nick Saban

Alabama football coach Nick Saban Photo courtesy of UA

The lull has arrived. Why not take some time to think about the coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide? Here are some completely random things that might be of interest about Nick Saban.

1. When Nick Saban was en route to being named the head football coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, thousands of Alabama fans gathered at the airport to mob Saban and cheered for Saban along the road as the Saban family arrived in Tuscaloosa.

2. While some were awaiting the newly chosen coach of the Crimson Tide to arrive, libations were flowing. Colette Connell was interviewed on television just moments before Saban’s arrival. She was shouting and celebrating the news. “Oh God, we love him!” she said. Then she screamed for the WBRC Fox 6 television camera, “We ballin’ baby. We ballin’!”

3. The usually reclusive Nick Saban arrived at the airport and headed straight for the throng of Alabama fans. He waved to the crowd and shook hands with others.

4. Police attempted to provide some order around the coach, but could not prevent a determined and intoxicated Colette Connell from reaching him. She reached out with her right arm and slipped it over Saban’s shoulder. In an instant she was pulling Saban toward her and reaching up toward him with her lips. The coach narrowly avoided a kiss right on the mouth, but Connell’s lips found the coach’s face. She then hugged him tightly until a uniformed law enforcement officer pulled her off the coach.

5. Nick Saban’s agent and Alabama began talking with each other as early as the 2006 loss to Mississippi State. However, some suggested the flirting started as early as Alabama’s October loss to the Tennessee Volunteers.

6. Nick Saban posted a top ten recruiting class in 2007 with only a few weeks to salvage the recruiting class.

7. Nick Saban followed the 2007 recruiting class with a #1 recruiting class in 2008, a #1 class in 2009, a #5 class in 2010, and a #1 class in 2011.

8. Nick Saban likes boat rides. Just ask Rick Karle and Paul Finebaum.

Boat Finebaum Saban Karle

Boat Finebaum Saban Karle

9. Dr. Kevin Elko was used by Alabama and coach Saban as an inspirational speaker. Elko is also mentioned in Saban’s autobiography: How Good Do You Want To Be.

10. Saban’s book looks at what drives people to do what they do—what is their passion. Saban said what motivates him is his family. According to his book, “Terry, Nicholas and Kristen, and my mother Mary—for they have all sacrificed greatly for me and my job. They inspire me to invest a tremendous amount of time and effort, to run a great football program that gives young people a chance to succeed.”

11. Forbes proclaimed Nick Saban as the Most Powerful Coach in Sports. Forbes magazine featured him on the cover of its August 7, 2008 edition and examined his control and influence within the University of Alabama.

12. Saban is an optimist when it comes to people. Unlike Machiavelli who provided an eloquent summation of mankind when he wrote, “One can make this generalization about men: they are ungrateful, fickle, liars, and deceivers, they shun danger and are greedy for profit.” Writing in 1536, John Calvin would construct a similar view of mankind describing the children of Adam as “perverse, corrupt and lacking any good.” In contrast, the Alabama football coach wrote, “To me there is good in all people.”

13. Nick Saban is a political philosopher. From his book How Good Do You Want To Be: “The most effective teams or organizations are those in which all the members have a say in the direction of the group…Dictatorships don’t rally the masses as democracies do. Now, life is not always a democracy (and neither, of course, is a football team), but allowing individuals power strengthens the foundation.”

14. There is a difference between discipline and punishment, according to Saban. Discipline is a process that teaches. Punishment just makes people suffer, according to the coach.

15. Nick Saban doesn’t like the media, but sure likes the media. Saban has become a master at getting his likeness and the Alabama Crimson Tide brand before the public. He was the subject of the motion picture release Gamechanger and fans along with future football prospects got a glimpse into Saban’s coaching style in the ESPN special Training Days: Rolling with the Crimson Tide.

16. Alabama football player Rob Ezell does a very good Nick Saban impression.

17. Saban was named national Coach of the Year three times and three times was picked as conference coach of the year.

18. One criticism leveled at Saban when he arrived at Alabama was that the coach had never posted successive ten win seasons. That is no longer the case. Saban won 12 games in 2008, 14 games in 2009 and 10 games in 2010. Also before arriving at Alabama, Saban had never posted an undefeated SEC regular season—he has done that twice since arriving in Tuscaloosa.

19. According to the coach’s official bio (link), “Saban spent four seasons (1991-94) as defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns under head coach Bill Belichick. The Browns went from allowing the most points (462) in the NFL prior to Saban’s arrival to allowing the fewest points (204) in the league in 1994, the sixth-fewest points surrendered in NFL history at the time. In each of Saban’s four years guiding the Browns’ defense, they never permitted an average of more than 19.2 points per game. He built a reputation as one of the finest defensive coaches in the league and also was heavily involved in the team’s player personnel and scouting process.”

20. Speaking of scouting, Alabama’s football coach has redefined the process of recruiting. ESPN published a piece on the influence of Nick Saban to college football. Quoted in the article are coaches at Clemson and Florida State—two schools that have become adherents to the Saban method™ See link. The Saban method is not to be confused with the God Thing™ Method used by Auburn. In that system, Auburn students sing “Bringing In the ‘Cruits” to the tune of “Bringing In the Sheaves”, and Pat Dye lectures on the Parable of the Prodigal Pants while Gene Chizik pretends to know what all is going on in Auburn’s questionable recruiting backrooms. For more on the God Thing™ Method, watch HBO’s Real Sports. It has all the “garbage” on Auburn.