Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Price is Right: ‘Bama Hires Saban

NCAA Football: BCS National Championship 2010 - Alabama WINS 37-21 Over Texas

As the "dead period" of college football carries us closer to September, I thought I would take this time to share a piece I composed just weeks after Nick Saban was hired at the University of Alabama.

This article was written in the cold month of January, long before Saban ever coached a game in Tuscaloosa, and long before anyone could have envisioned a national championship.

In early 2007 the only thing 'Bama fans had was hope...nothing more...nothing less.

Alabama Spring Game

He was born on Halloween, but the University of Alabama is banking on the fact he can make the “horror story” disappear. In the biggest hire since Paul W. Bryant, the University of Alabama has named Nick Saban to be the 27th head football coach in school history.

After Mike Shula was dismissed on Nov. 27, 2006, speculation and innuendo had been flying around Tuscaloosa every moment of the day.

At 10 a.m. on Jan 4, Nick Saban was named head coach, and Alabama could finally move forward.

Nick Saban has an impressive track record and is thought by many to be one of the best college coaches today. After a short stint with the Miami Dolphins, Saban is back in the college ranks…and back in the SEC.

Coach Saban first made waves in college football in 1990, as head coach of the Toledo Rockets. He led Toledo to a 9-2 record and finished the year co-champions of the Mid-American Conference.

After Toledo, he took his act to the NFL, and the Cleveland Browns. Saban was defensive coordinator under Bill Belichick from 1991-1994. In 1990, the Browns allowed 462 points on defense, the most in the NFL. In 1994, under Saban, Cleveland allowed only 204 points all year, the lowest in the NFL.

From 1995-1999, Nick Saban was in Big Ten country, and coaching the Michigan State Spartans. In 1999, his final season at State, he led the team to a record of
9-2. That record included wins over Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and bitter rival…Michigan.

On November 30, 1999, Nick Saban was named the head coach of the Louisiana State Tigers. Saban would find the biggest success of his career at LSU and in the SEC. Coach Saban won the Peach Bowl in his first season, the SEC Championship and Sugar Bowl in his second season, the Cotton Bowl in his third season, and the SEC, Sugar Bowl, and national championship in 2003.

Heisman Trophy Presentation

Saban would finish his time in Baton Rouge in 2004 with a 9-3 season and a victory in the Capital One Bowl.

As you can see, this isn’t his first “hay ride”…as we say in these parts. Only time will tell if Nick Saban will put his $30 million dollar deal to good use. Without question Alabama will now have a better shot at the elite high school talent and will make better strides in every aspect of the game.

Alabama fans can already feel proud of Nick Saban and the future of the Alabama football program. Coach Saban has qualities Mike Shula did not. Saban has a PULSE…and he has a PLAN! That is only a start…but a start nevertheless.

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