Saban has been a bargain for Alabama


When Nick Saban signed his unprecedented eight-year, $32 million contract to be the head coach at Alabama, I told some friends that there would come a day when that deal would look like a bargain.

That day, as it turns out, is today.

Saban just signed a three-year contract extension which, if he stays for its entirety, will keep him in Tuscaloosa through the 2017 season. That’s nine more years.

The contract extension should have been longer. In fact, the school should have offered him a lifetime deal.

I’m serious.

Here’s why: When Alabama was struggling to a 6-7 (2-6 SEC) finish in Mike Shula’s final season (2006), some of my Crimson Tide friends were simply dumbfounded. They simply did not understand why a school with Alabama’s tradition and resources, which are considerable, should be in this position.

And they had a point. It is tough to compete for the SEC championship every season because the league is so good and, with the 85-scholarship limit, programs are going to have some ups and downs from time to time.

But Alabama should never be BAD in the sport of football.

The reality is that as long as Nick Saban is the head coach, Alabama will never be bad. The Crimson Tide may not be at the top of the SEC West every single season, but this team will never embarrass its fans for not being competitive. And you can’t say that about a lot of football programs.

Yeah, Saban can be a bit of a control freak. He gets annoyed by the media’s obsession with minutiae which, of course, simply reflects the interest of the fan base. If you want to talk X’s and O’s and he has the time, Saban will talk all day. He loves to talk about football. It’s the warm and fuzzy stuff that he has no time for.

But, quite candidly, you have to be a control freak if you’re going to be the head coach at Alabama. Because, as I’ve said many times, Alabama’s greatest strength as a football program is also its greatest weakness:

The fans care so much.

For 25 years Alabama’s football spoke with only one voice and that was the familiar growl of Paul “Bear” Bryant (1958-82). Even when Alabama wasn’t winning, and that wasn’t often under Coach Bryant, there was no dissention because there was never any doubt about who was in charge.

It has taken Alabama 25 years since his death in 1983 to find another coach strong enough to hold the various factions of the Crimson Tide family together and keep everybody on task. Gene Stallings (1990-96) did it for a while, winning 70 games in even seasons.  But even he had to fight to exert control over the program and all of its moving parts.

As Saban prepares to bring Alabama to Atlanta to play Virginia Tech in Saturday’s Chick-fil-A College Kickoff, he is in TOTAL control of the Crimson Tide football program and virtually anything that comes into contact with it. Let’s assess what has happened since he arrived in Tuscaloosa in January of 2007:

**–Alabama has won the SEC’s West division and has played in the conference championship game.

**–Alabama started the 2008 season 12-0 and rose to the nation’s No. 1 ranking. Last December Alabama was one quarter away from playing for the national championship.

**–Alabama, despite losing its starting quarterback and three starters on the offensive line, is picked to win the SEC West and is in just about everybody’s preseason Top 10.

**–For the second year Saban has agreed to play in the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff, which is giving the program day-long national TV exposure and making further inroads to recruiting in the state of Georgia (much to the chagrin of the programs at Georgia and Georgia Tech).

**–An Auburn program that had beaten Alabama six straight times now has a new head coach and an uncertain future. Saban and his staff are pretty much in control of the state when it comes to recruiting.

And all that has happened in just two seasons.

The point is, Saban was hired at Alabama to accomplish two major tasks: To unite a fan base and to make the Crimson Tide relevant again on the national stage. Logically, a job like that should take several years. Saban did it in year No. 2.

Like him or not, you have to admit the man can coach. And if you pull for another SEC school, you have to admit that as long as Saban is in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide will never be bad and most of the time will be very, very good.

That’s why Alabama officials have approved an $80 million expansion that will bring seating at Bryant-Denny Stadium from 92,138 to over 101,000, starting with the 2010 season. Is there any doubt that those seats, which include 36 luxury skyboxes, are going to be sold faster than you can say “Roll Tide?”

They will generate untold millions. That’s why if you’re a Crimson Tide fan, you better give this guy whatever he wants. He has been a bargain for your school.



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149 comments Add your comment

Got 12?

September 1st, 2009
2:55 pm

The “10 wins” argument is one of more asinine I’ve ever heard. The stated goal of each head coach and player in the SEC every year is to win the SEC championship. I’ve never heard a player, coach or athletic department administrator stating 10 wins as an objective.

I’d trade five 10-win seasons for a NC and 2 SEC championships in a five-year period, any day. That applies to Saban at Bama or any other coach and school.


September 1st, 2009
2:55 pm

Atlanta Gator, as always the voice of reason. “Is a great defense a function of “luck?” What is this “defense” that you speak of? It is a foreign term to us dawg fans. Maybe one day we will find this thing called defense and rise from the ashes to rule the SEC, or at least ruin the day for somebody else.

Anybody have any idea about OSU? Looks like their players are dropping out quick for the game this Saturday. First the starting CB and now the starting TE. Or is this all just dog and pony show to set us at ease before the scalping begins.

Rebel Ace

September 1st, 2009
2:58 pm

Ole Miss is looking fwd. to spanking that $4 million butt.

Nick Saban and back to back 10 win seasons?

September 1st, 2009
3:00 pm

Obscure reference,

Keep in mind that when he won 8 in his first year at LSU and 7 in his first year at Bama that he was stepping into mediocre programs that can’t be turned around in 1 year. Every job he has taken has been a rebuilding job and most coaches want 2-4 years to get the ship righted. And again the season after he won the title at LSU he had 9 wins in a regular season that consisted of 11 regular season games as opposed to the usual 12. In a normal season that extra game would have been a padded cream puff home game. Same with his first season where he won only 8 at LSU.

Tide Rising

September 1st, 2009
3:04 pm


Speaking of Auburn when are they going to hire a head coach?

4 million dollar butt

September 1st, 2009
3:06 pm

Rebel Ace,

How often have you spanked that 4 million dollar butt? Have you done it with any regularity?

Atlanta Gator

September 1st, 2009
3:16 pm

gdawg~zoo—-It’s not that the Dawgs don’t have good defense; they do. They have talent; they have potential. The problem is the Dawgs can’t seem to manage to live up to their defensive potential for four consecutive quarters in 3 to 4 games per year. I don’t want to rub salt in an open wound, but that sounds like a coaching problem.

Denver Dog

September 1st, 2009
3:22 pm

So whay can’t he and barry H Obama go out west face the wind and have the wildfires extinquished. I’m not sure how good of a coach he is becuase he has never stayed anywhere long enough to prove it. His last job before Alabama was not such a success. He is a good coach, and is a super organizer, but does he really want to stay somewhere longer than 5 years? We will see I guess. Good luck to him

Got 12?

September 1st, 2009
3:23 pm

Tide Rising,

I had a telephone interview with Jacobs last week. I have an in-person interview on Thursday in Opelika. The limo is picking me up. I’m so excited. Jacobs said he found my resume on Monster.

I told Dye that I haven’t played organized football since intramurals at UA. He said that means I’m undefeated as a head coach. I said that’s one way to look at it. WDE!

Denver Dog

September 1st, 2009
3:25 pm

hey atlanta Gator, didn’t look like they had a tough problem in 07, maybe this will be the year for them again. Good luck to your Gators except for that Last Sat in October. Love watching Tebow play!

Not Disappointed!

September 1st, 2009
3:25 pm

Saban better bring at 3 national championship or he’s not worth it!

Ramblin Wreck!


September 1st, 2009
3:41 pm

I’ll give credit where credit is due, a few players each year have to be run off; that’s just the way it is. To run off a starter is taking no short-cut that is exemplary. I still say that on the 4th signing class to bring in 25 is over the top. I also remember Michigan St recruiting in SE Florida when he coached there.

Tide Rising

September 1st, 2009
3:46 pm


I’ll take 0-0 is better than 5-19 with wins over Kent State and North Dakota State. Did Bobby Lowder have a hand in getting you the interview also?

Atlanta Gator

September 1st, 2009
3:54 pm

Denver Dog—-I’m confused regarding your 2007 reference. Are you referring to the Gators’ 2007 BCS Championship (following the 13-1 2006 season) or the 2007 season that followed (9-4, with Capitol One loss to Michigan)?

In any event, thanks for the (mostly) good thoughts. As always, I want to see the Dawgs play well 11 out of 12 games. Makes the last game of October that much more significant.


September 1st, 2009
3:58 pm

ATL Gator, I know, I know. You don’t need to convince me but maybe if I give you the number to BM Hall down in Athens you could make a convincing phone call to a certain HC?

Tide Rising

September 1st, 2009
3:58 pm


Technically it is Saban’s 4th recruiting class but really the 2010 class will be his 3rd. When he was hired he only had the month of January to recruit. He honored Shula’s committs and landed 2-3 of his own but for the most part it was Shula’s class and it wasn’t a very big class I don’t think.

I will say that like you I believe a small handful of these recruits 3 or 4 of them that were Shula recruits I think Saban just didn’t want and he ran em off one way or another. These were guys that simply didn’t have SEC talent.

Looking back at it Shula signed a lot of players who had Bama as their only legit SEC offer and had offers from lower tier conferences like the Sun belt. Shula signed some good players just by virtue of instate talent but our overall talent was very subpar compared to UF, UGA, LSU, AU, UT. The players I’m thinking of though were in fact given 4 years to complete their degree and 3 of them did before moving on via transfer or medical redshirt.

Got 12?

September 1st, 2009
3:59 pm

Tide Rising,

Three weeks ago, I ran into Lowder at the McDonald’s in Lanett. He had ordered the kids’ meal but his debit card was declined. I was standing behind him in line and paid for his meal because he was holding up the line. He said that’s the kind of generous and decisive action they need on The Plains. He asked for my cell number but I declined. He must have written down my tag number because I got a letter from him the following week. I shredded it.

A couple of days later, Jacobs left a message on my home number saying he found my resume on Monster. He was noticeably sobbing. I’m not a monster so I called him back.


September 1st, 2009
4:36 pm

Meyer, Saban, Spurrier, Miles, Richt, Nutt…How lucky are we in the SEC?! I love watching those guys coach!

Atlanta Gator

September 1st, 2009
4:51 pm

gdawg~zoo—-Nice try. Like CMR is going to take an anonymous phone call from someone named “Atlanta Gator.”

Bama gets letter of inquiry from NCAA- again!

September 1st, 2009
5:03 pm

Bama received yet another letter of inquiry from the NCAA today regarding 2 possible major violations regarding 5 star recruits Dre Kirkpatrick and Trent Richardson.

In Dre’s case he attended class without a pencil or pen and a classmate gave him a used pencil. Dre allegedly did not pay for the pencil and it constitutes an extra benefit since the lending student does in fact have a direct connection with the university. The offending no. 2 pencil was halfway used and the eraser worn down to the nob. While the monetary value of the guilty pencil is in doubt the fact that it was given to Dre without due compensation is not.

In Trent’s case he was attempting to buy a soda from the soda machine but was a nickel short. A fellow student gave Trent a nickel and this constituted a monetary benefit thus giving Bama a competitive advantage which is another major violation.

In the case of Trent it was videotaped by Phillip Fulmer who was hiding behind a bus. He also tried to videotape Dre’s pencil incident but was spotted by students as the oak tree he was attempting to hide behind wasn’t big enough to cover him.

Bama officials feel confident in beating the pencilgate charge as it is based on hearsay evidence. But on the Trent sodagate case UA officials are dismayed that Phat Phil has one upped Bama again and this time he has the videotaped goods. One on this breaking story later.


September 1st, 2009
5:10 pm

just another gator fan who respects bama….is kiffen and co. in gainesville yet?

Bama fan

September 1st, 2009
5:19 pm


What makes you think Kiffin and UT are actually going to show up in Gainesville on Sept. 19th? I’m thinking they call in sick. Would you show up for a day that in UT history will probably end up being remembered as a day of infamy? I’m predicting 83-0


September 1st, 2009
5:40 pm

Cffreak, I think the most overhyped coach has to be Kirk Ferentz.

I just do not see why Bama is ranked so high. I suspect they will fall short of expectations like UGA did last year.

Keeping It Real

September 1st, 2009
5:48 pm

Saban and the other SEC coaches gets millions for recruiting and directing their assistants to get the best out of 11 players on both sides of the ball. The players get nothing but a fake education from the school and the potential to go pro if they don’t blow out a knee. Sounds like a plantation to me. College football is a farce when it comes to the guys that play the game every Saturday.

Correcting keeping it real

September 1st, 2009
6:09 pm

Keeping it real,

Some schools steer all their kids into bogus liberal arts majors like sociology. Others have their players in numerous disciplines. To sit there and say they all have fake educations is absurd. Some take the easy courses and easy majors. Many do not.


September 1st, 2009
7:25 pm

Saban had a very unprepared Bama team in the Sugar Bowl last year and was *humiliated* by Utah in a game in which they were heavily favored. Sure, Andre Smith wasn’t available, but if one guy makes that big a difference then I’ll take a wait and see on how good a coach he really is long-term. His record before LSU was unimpressive, and after LSU well . . . he’s had one good season. Not reason to slobber his knob just yet, Bammers.

idiot corrector

September 1st, 2009
8:09 pm


You fool. Bama was missing their other offensive guard early in the 1st qtr. It wasn’t just one guy. It was the left side of the o-line.

he won 2 sec titles in 5 years at lsu. Oh, he won a national championship to. And yet an idiot like you says his record at LSU was unimpressive. Has your program leader won a national title. Unless you’re a gator fan the answer is no so stfu!


September 1st, 2009
8:13 pm

Saban overachieved with this bunch last year. He’s still getting his guys into this program, and when he does they’re going to be real tough. Saban has a huge ego, and when channeled correctly, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He’s the kind of coach that wants to get the credit for when they win. Therefore, he’s never going to have a superstar QB like a Tim Tebow or a star running back like Knowshon Moreno, because it will overshadow him. He’d rather win with a game manager like a John Parker Wilson or a Matt Mauck at QB and a hard hitting defense like he had in 2003.

That’s why Saban never worked out in the pros. It wasn’t because he was lousy at the X’s and Oo’s, it was because he wasn’t going to have the control he wanted in the NFL, especially from an owner like Wayne Huzienga, another prima donna. At Alabama, Saban is given the control he wants as long as he wins


September 1st, 2009
8:32 pm

OK for the record let’s look at Saban’s actual record…MSU 6-5-1,6-6,7-5,6-6,9-2.Now folks always seem to refer to the “great job”he did at MSU turning that program around…looking at the record I don’t see what was so great about it.LSU 8-4,10-3,8-5,13-1,9-3 He got a NC though at LSU.ALA 7-6.12-2 good SEC numbers…not as good as Richt or Meyer but good.I just don’t understand the media lovefest with Saban…to hear the AJC writers take the guy is one of the top 3 coaches in all the land!Really I’m not hating on the man I just don’t see why he is supposedly superior to Mark Richt


September 1st, 2009
9:07 pm

If I’m a Bama fan I only worry that Saban can never be the Bear and at some point he will realize that. If he has the ego that many of you believe he will not want to be second fiddle forever and therefore leave to be the “man”. Just a thought. I personally hope he stays in the conference until 2017 and I’m not jealous he is at Bama. Dawgs win Saturday and go SEC.

joe taxpayer

September 1st, 2009
9:15 pm

Wish he would hire willie Martinz from Georgia.

Jerry Springer

September 1st, 2009
10:27 pm


You’re forgetting that Saban took over 2 sec teams that were mired in mediocrity before he got there. LSU had 8 losing seasons in 11 years and Bama had some bad years and was at its alltime low when Saban took over. Richt had established talent. Saban built these 2 programs from the ashes.

Jerry Springer

September 1st, 2009
11:39 pm


I didn’t realize you could peer into Saban’s mind and see that his ego is denying him from having a high profile tailback or qb that might outshine his own ego. I wish I was that smart. But if what you say is true then why did Saban get the nation’s no. 2 tailback in the 09 class in Trent Richardson and why does Saban have a committment for the 2010 class from the top rated qb in the nation Phillip Sims out of Virginia? Won’t these guys take the attention away from Saban?


September 1st, 2009
11:50 pm

Maybe he’ll overcome the double digit losses to end last season and have back to back 10 win seasons for the first time ever. I’m not a fan or a hater, just amazed how propped up he is. His crowning moment was a win over the Big 12 runner up who was coming off a 35-7 loss. Great recruiter, no doubt, but forgive me for having doubts.

Crimson nation

September 2nd, 2009
1:25 am


You’re largely right. In my opinion Saban is a good coach, not necessarily a great coach. And the sec is full of good coaches so he is just one of several good coaches in this league. He is talked about too much whether it be negative or positive. People just want to talk about the guy for some reason. Also, you are correct.

When he got the bama job he told Mal Moore the Bama AD and I paraphrase here ” If you think you got the best coach in the nation you didn’t. But I am the best dam recruiter there is in college football”. Truer words were never spoken.


September 2nd, 2009
7:12 am

I hate all the turnover in college football by coaches moving all the time. Fans need to be realistic to know where they are in the pecking order and not be too unrealistic in their expectations. No way should Tuberville have been fired by Auburn. Bobby Johnson should be locked up for the long term by Vandy he has made them relevant. Saban is attracting talent and given Alabama back their swagger you have to know the grass is not always greener by constantly bringing in a new coach. Reality is you usually get a frog and not a prince most of the time when you make a change.

Vick=Dog killing thug

September 2nd, 2009
7:42 am

Big dawg fan here but I do like Saban and the boyz from Bama.. Rather see them on top than the gators…..


September 2nd, 2009
2:43 pm

nuetral observe<<<<.neutral<

why are you children so jealous of Alabama and Coach Saban… did your mommy not show you enough attention while in diapers . Grow up its a Sport… why do you have to act so childish? I Mr nuetral observer….I suggest you take some remedial education courses and leave the football to weekends only.

What is you best example of Nick Saban cheating? put up or shut up!


September 2nd, 2009
2:48 pm

Hey-Crimson nation—-I say nick is a great coach…. give him 8 years more and see if he does not add 2 or 3 N.Championships to Alabama’s trophy case.. who is a better defensive coach on the college level… no one… pete carrol is his closest competitor

turkey hunter

September 2nd, 2009
6:42 pm

out of all of suitcase saban’s schools # 2 year has always been the best and then he has gotten worse. Also alabama is about to get the death penalty anyway


Georgia Fan

September 3rd, 2009
2:25 pm

Saban is a great coach, but the Bama faithful are crazy people that will eventually drive him out of town. Here is a sample of the Alabama fanbase and their overwhelming inferiority complex from my trip to T town 9/07.
Bama #1: “I bet y’all are just a bunch of rich boys from Buckhead…all silverspoon and s*#%.”
Me: Nah, man were just college students, like uh, well not you… but people your age in this town with grammar.
Bama #2: “Atlanta’s full of a bunch of n$#@%#s, f#@s and yankees.”
My Friend: “Dude you’re wearing a braves hat.”
Bama #2: “Huh”
Bama #1: “It’s Two Thousand Saban!!”
Bama #3: “You wanna fight boy?”


September 4th, 2009
2:52 pm

I have a couple of questions for those who talk all this negative trash about Saban. What would you do if your favor college football hired him as your head coach? Would you be angry? Heck no! Each one of you cry babies would be saying exactly what every Alabama feels – relief that some is finally in charge and will make you competitive in every game. Well-with the exception of the Utah game. :)

Roll Tide!


September 4th, 2009
2:56 pm

Hey Georgia Fan – I live in Atlanta and if i were to drive no more than 12 miles outside of the city i do believe UGA has their share of those type folks you make light of.

I have no complex. It may just you looking in the mirror – bonehead!

Hey BTW Georgia Fan any plans to have a BLACKOUT game this year in Athens?


September 5th, 2009
11:27 am

Well, the day has finally arrived. I hope that all of you guys enjoy the games today.

It’s just great to be a Crimson Tide football fan!



September 7th, 2009
9:49 pm

As for Nick Saban’s prior record, I don’t really care. Gene Stallings came to Tuscaloosa with a losing record as a Head Coach. I know the situations that Saban has been in and he has had success everywhere he has been. That’s why he’s had so many opportunities to take new positions.

Something will have to go terribly wrong for Coach Saban to leave Alabama rather than retiring here. I’m not saying that it couldn’t happen, but I will say that none of the relevant parties should want it to happen.

It is true that a coach will be accepted by most fan-bases if he wins — no matter what his character or personality might be. But the fact is that Nick Saban happens to be quite an honorable man. The Bama Nation doesn’t have to ‘look the other way’ for Coach Saban, because he’s doing things the right way.


[...] has been a bargain for Alabama Saban has been a bargain for Alabama | Mr. College Football When Nick Saban signed his unprecedented eight-year, $32 million contract to be the head coach [...]


November 17th, 2009
9:35 am

So here we are in November, 10 games into the 2009 season…what do you Saban haters have to say now?

LSU will win the West in 09—wrong.
Alabama lost an All American tickle, 2 TEs, an all SEC RB and Safety, and they start a rookie at QB so they’ll suffer in 09—wrong.
Saban’s never had consecutive 10 win seasons—wrong.

First in recruiting in 2008. First in recruiting in 2009. Poised to be first in recruiting in 2010. Face it, Saban’s stockpiling talent, his defense will always be dominant, and he shows no sign whatsoever of leaving.

Objectively, it sure looks like Alabama is headed for another Natl Championship–perhaps more than one.


January 10th, 2010
8:36 pm

True….Alabama beat Texas but never have I seen an example of poor sportsmanship than I did at the end of that game. Why Saben did not take a knee with less than a minute left in the game and a nine point lead is only an example of what a true dick this man is. Come to the line in a victory formation then run the ball against a defense that has already conceded defeat…….Low……real low.