Saban secures his place in Alabama history

Newport Beach, Calif.–On a plaza at the North end of Bryant-Denny Stadium are the statues of the coaches who have won national championships at Alabama: Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas, Gene Stallings, and, of course, Paul Bear Bryant.

 When the plaza was built there was room left for a fifth statue in anticipation that someday, someone, would take Alabama back to its football glory.

 After Alabama’s 37-21 victory over Texas in Thursday night’s BCS national championship game, it is a fair statement that a statue of Nick Saban will soon be filling that space.

“I haven’t thought about it but Terry (his wife) said something about it last night,” said Saban, who brought Alabama its national championship in only three years. “You hope that when you get into this profession that you can do something that leaves a mark, that will effect someone in a positive way in the future.”

 The college football world reacted with shock and awe in Janaury of 2007 when Saban was hired away from the Miami Dolphins for the unheard of sum of $32 million over eight years.  But this morning, as Saban and athletic director Mal Moore came to pick up the national championship hardware, that deal struck three years ago looks like a bargain,

 ”You have to understand how special this is to the Alabama people,” said Moore, who laid the foundation for this moment by raising the money and building the facilities that made it possible for Saban to succeed. “To come here and win another national championship in the Rose Bowl is very significant to our people. This is just a great moment in the history of the University of Alabama.”

 It was Moore decided that he would not take no for an answer when it came time to hire Saban. He had offered the job in West Virginia’s Rich Rodriguez and it appeared that he was coming to Tuscaloosa. Moore decided at that point that Alabama would do whatever it had to do to get Saban. He then convinced the the right people at Alabama that hiring Saban and making the financial commitment was absolutely necessary if the school wanted to return to national prominence in football.

 There was much work to be done when Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa. But when over 92,000 packed Bryant-Denny Stadium for the first spring game, forcing fire marshalls to close the gates and leave thousands more outside, Saban knew that Alabama would eventually be successful.

“When I saw that kind of passion I knew that if we did our job as players and coaches that we had a very good chance to be successful,” he said. “When you have that kind of positive energy surrounding the program, you’re off to a really good start.”

Saban’s first Alabama team started fast but stumbled down the stretch to finish 7-6. In 2008 Alabama started 12-0 and rose to a No. 1 ranking. But a loss in the SEC championship game to Florida, which went on to win the national title, was followed by an inexplicable loss to Utah in the Sugar Bowl. Those disappointments provided all the motivational energy Saban would need to get the 2009 team ready for a run at the national championship.

“We were very clear with our players about what it would take and the commitment that would have to be made to be successful this season,” said Saban. “Our players bought into what we were selling.”

 There were some tense moments this season. Terrence Cody had to block a field goal on the last play of the game to beat Tennessee 12-10 in October. Alabama had to drive the length of the field to beat Auburn on the day after Thanksgiving.

 But when Alabama faced No. 1 Florida in the SEC championship game, Saban and his players and coaches had done their homework. They had been getting ready for that game since they lost in Atlanta the year before. Alabama just destroyed Florida.

 In the BCS championship game Texas lost quarterback Colt McCoy early which certainly changed the game. Behind freshman quarterback Garrett Gilbert the Longhorns cut a 24-6 lead to 24-21 with about four minutes left.

 But Alabama’s defense forced two late turnovers and made the game appear to be more lopsided than it really was.

 Alabama’s team gets back to Tuscaloosa tonight and there will be a great celebration. And there will be plans to build that statue. But it won’t be long before thoughts turn to recruiting and the 2010 season.

 Expect Alabama to be the preseason No. 1 with the talent the Crimson Tide has returning. Saban would have no part of that discussion.

 ”Every team is different and this team will have a lot of unanswered questions,” he said. “You guys (the media) will look at our top four or five players and figure we should be there (No. 1).”

 Understand that Saban’s warning was not for the benefit of the assembled media. It was for the Alabama’s players who will be watching him on television. It is his warning to them that this offseason may be one of the toughest Alabama has ever had because it is much harder to win the second championship because you’re not as hungry.

 Saban will make sure they are hungry. You can count on that. After all, he’s got a statue.

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175 comments Add your comment

Southern Football

January 8th, 2010
2:47 pm

Saban Rules!

January 8th, 2010
2:50 pm

Nick Saban—best coach in america, by far!! He’s due a big raise, especially since mack brown just got a $2 mil raise to $5 million. Bama needs to pay Saban at least $6 mil, or he will be looking around again!!

#2 BAMA FAN

January 8th, 2010
2:50 pm

Saban deserves the statue to be next to Bear Bryant’s statue, because Saban is going to win more national titles and SEC titles!! Tony thanks for a great story and best of luck for a great year!!!
RTR 2009 NATIONAL CHAMPS RTR

$1.4 million Shreveport vs. our $14 million BCS Orange bowl

January 8th, 2010
2:51 pm

Final college polls | GT 13th | UGA unranked

Congrats to coach Saban and all Alabama fans everywhere. I still have chill bumps from seeing the 92,000 at that spring game 3 years ago!

Getused Toit

January 8th, 2010
2:52 pm

Final college polls | GT 13th | UGA unranked

redeployed dawg

January 8th, 2010
2:52 pm

Shouldn’t that be ‘Saban’ instead of ‘Meyer’ in paragraphy 5?

redeployed dawg

January 8th, 2010
2:54 pm

And Tech fans, what does that say about your conference and schedule when you lose to your instate, unranked rivals as well as losing in the first big bowl you have had in years. If it doesn’t bother you a little bit, I feel sorry for your lack of understanding of the game of football.

alpharettadawg

January 8th, 2010
2:55 pm

Tony, you referenced Meyer instead of Saban after one of Mal Moore’s quotes. Just an FYI.

lame

January 8th, 2010
2:56 pm

Nice job Tony, getting Saban confused with Meyer. Nice to see you’re still showing us your UGA education, lol

redeployed dawg

January 8th, 2010
2:56 pm

And, of course, it should be ‘paragraph’ as opposed to ‘paragraphy’ in my earlier comment. Product of Georgia public education, what can I say?

Rammer Jammer

January 8th, 2010
2:58 pm

Roll Tide Roll !!!!

m is for mullet

January 8th, 2010
2:58 pm

yep, 13th with 2 straight losses, how does that feel homer?? But a whole year of humble pie, still bitter I see.

The king is back on his throne

January 8th, 2010
3:05 pm

Things just can’t get much better.

We expand our stadium to over 100k to open the season, we pick up Penn state and Florida again. WoW!

We’ve had back to back no. 1 ranked recruiting classes which will be sophomores and juniors next season. Our current recruiting class is ranked no. 3 in the country.

All of our skill players are back on offense. Our qb, both Ingram and Trent Richardson, Julio, all the wideouts, several great tight ends in the wings, we lose 2 o-lineman but have 2 former 5 star tackle recruits waiting in the wings to take over and several former 4 star recruits to battle them for those 2 o line spots.

On defense we lose 3 starting d lineman including cody and we lose Ro McClain, 2 corners, and 1 safety. Safety will be improved with the speed of Robby Green who played a lot last night and throughout the season plus the addition of several top rated safety prospects.

We got Donta Hightower back to take over Ro’s spot. We landed the no. 1 rated cornerback prospect in the country 2 years in a row so we are fine there and have other top rated corners besides the top 2.

We have 2 former 5 star lb recruits on top of several 4 star lb recruits all fighting to take over. We have Chapman at noseguard who played probably more than Cody taking over at nose tackle. Plus several huge recruits behind him.

We have Marcel dareus returning at one D end spot which will be an upgrade and we get back Damion square at the other D end spot from injury. Got several former 4 star d ends waiting in the wings to back up those 2 terrors.

Good God I can’t wait till next season.

Tony Barnhart

January 8th, 2010
3:05 pm

Fixed incorrect reference when I used Meyer instead of Saban. It happens

Resign or Resign?

January 8th, 2010
3:09 pm

”You have to understand how special this is to the Alabama people,” said Moore, who laid the foundation for this moment by raising the money and building the facilities that made it possible for Meyer to succeed. “

Meyer? Faustian slip, Tony?

UGA 2010

January 8th, 2010
3:10 pm

The Tech fans have had this comin for awhile now, even tho your ranked 13th u still…….SUCK!!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, thanks for looking so bad and making UGA fans just laugh at you!! We will be making fun of you till Nov. and givin you hell the same way y’all wouldnt SHUT UP last yr. i couldnt punch a tech fan, id have to slap a h0e…….

Florida Dawg

January 8th, 2010
3:10 pm

Whoever sang the National Anthem last night…Josh (don’ know his last name), should be congratulated.
He sang it the way it should be performed…with class.

BAMA STAN

January 8th, 2010
3:25 pm

13 NATIONAL TITLES – 22 SEC TITLES!!!

Texas showed a lot of guts …. and class last night.

Saban winning two NT’s at two different schools this decade is incredible. Bama on the up cycle – hope we stay there for years to come.

Tony – does Penn State return most of it’s players in 2010?
What key players are leaving?
This game will be a challenge and a physical war.

Tony – besides Bama – and this is way too early – who looks good coming into 2010?
Here is a list of teams (no particular order) that appear to be on a roll for 2010 – your thoughts?
Alabama, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburg, Miami,

Rolllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll Tide!!!!

Wow, just wow...

January 8th, 2010
3:27 pm

Twice in the same day Tony “I am the next Furman Bisher” Barnhart writes articles that state the obvious: “Saban secures his place in Alabama history” – Tony is a genius and gets paid to think these things and write them!

Fat American

January 8th, 2010
3:35 pm

Texas showed a lot of heart & should be commended for fighting their way back with a freshman QB & cutting the lead to 3.

But Bama made the big plays again late to seal the win & are to be congratulated on a fine win & earning a deserved NC.

It will be tough for them to repeat next year with 6 of their SEC opponents having byes the week before they play Alabama.

Thanks for all the great work this season Tony!

gdawginkalamazoo

January 8th, 2010
3:35 pm

Will they put a smile on that statute? Maybe they can snap a picture after $aban gets the raise to 6 mil a year and use that one. He will have to smile when that happens right? The dude can coach and prepare a team like no other that’s for sure. It will be interesting to see if he can repeat next year. After watching Florida not quit get there this year with everything they had coming back it will be a fun season.

30 Year Drought

January 8th, 2010
3:40 pm

Welcome to the BCS Title Club Alabama!! Membership is full and now closed for SEC schools.

M A Double T

January 8th, 2010
3:44 pm

Saban can shove that crystal football right up 680 The Fan’s Matt Chernoff’s a_s… He was ripping on the tide all year long and said SEC non BAMA fans would be rooting for Texas… whatever, school first SEC second… He should go back to playing hackysac on the quad with the rest of the GDI’s on campus… Nice work all season long Mr. College Football.. BAMA/SEC!!!! RMFT!!!!

.........the plains

January 8th, 2010
3:46 pm

We can do without the statue.

SickandTired

January 8th, 2010
3:54 pm

Saban truly is a coaching animal. He exhibits the qualities that universities and fan bases expect when their contribution dollars are turned into multi million dollar contracts for the head coaches at major universities. Sadly, Georgia deserves nothing less than what Nick Saban gives to storied history of the University of Alabama. While Georgia’s history cannot match Alabama’s in National Championships there is no less passion and commitment in the support that the fan base in Athens gives to their football program. The facilities are top notch, they spend the money on football to the detriment of ever having a high quality basketball program yet it seems that year after year nothing ever seems to change. Under Mark Richt he had a really nice run his first five years and then the salary has continually climbed to around $3 million a year and yet look at the results in the 9 years overall since he took the helm in Athens. There’s been 5 national championships won out of the SEC in those nine years and actually Auburn should have won another one when they got screwed in the polls and never lost a game. LSU won one under Saban and another under my God Les Miles of all people. Florida has won two under Urban Meyer and now Saban has won one for Alabama. The Georgia fan base has such high esteen for Mark Richt and while he seems to be a nice guy they don’t hand out those crystal footballs like Nick was handed last night for being a nice guy, they do it as a reward for hard work, intelligence and an expectation of excellence that’s transferred to actually earning the big money that coaches are paid. Mark Richt has had the support but he hasn’t delivered the polished product and the sooner Georgia realizes that and goes out and hires a guy who’s capable of delivering instead of just cashing checks Georgia will be in the middle tier of the SEC. The SEC is the gold standard of college football right now and LSU, Florida and Alabama are the gold standard. Georgia is what is known as a semi precious commodity. Has been, is, and shall be until people come to their senses and decide if they want their long journey in the wilderness without Hershel Walker to end so they can drink from the fountain on the top of the hill.

[...] head coach Nick Saban holds up the Coaches’ Trophy during a news conference in Newport Beach, California on Friday. [...]

ReptilesRule

January 8th, 2010
4:28 pm

Tony, I’m hearing all of these pundits gush all over Saban saying they just can’t believe he did this in 3 years with one of them mentioning that he even did it with someone elses players. Not taking anything away from Saban, obviously he is a great coach. But didn’t Urban Meyer do all this in year 2??? And then turn around and do it again in year 4??? Yes, Saban is an elite coach but Urban’s not to shabby himself. And don’t think that he’s not capable of coming back fresh and stronger and doing it again someday…

Gen Neyland

January 8th, 2010
4:31 pm

I’ve already given The Tide my sincere congrats today. Let’s see if they have a sense of humor : Until Saban gets the Red Elephants in deep do-do with the NCAA, he has not secured his place in Alabama lore…and I guess BuLLdawg will be flying high claiming the Dawgs got 3 more votes than the Volunteers in the final AP poll. Boy, I’ll really get it from ol’ #39 for that one, huh..?

Bama Bubba

January 8th, 2010
4:34 pm

How long fore ole St. Nick gits caught payin them players like the bear did? He can’t git them guys to do his dirty work without payin em. If you can’t beat em, buy em.

Mike Shula

January 8th, 2010
4:34 pm

When will the info out of Gasden be made public? Dodge Chargers seem to grow on trees there after they are laundered through auto auctions in Florida.

Red Elephant

January 8th, 2010
4:55 pm

Tony,

You might want to keep it down concerning Wallace Wade and Frank Thomas. There are those in Lee County Alabama that are convinced they never existed in the first place.

13
22
#1

Danny Forde

January 8th, 2010
4:57 pm

Heck youngster what are you talkin bout Gasden, man over in Hokes Bluff we just got flat out paid. Kind of like that Jones kid did on that fishn trp. We sured look good last night, I caint wait til next year. I ‘l be comin down from Clempsun to see a real team play. Heck the ACC hadn’t had a real team, or game since I whopped Monte kiffn’s tail in the middle of the field up there in Rawley

Danny Forde

January 8th, 2010
5:00 pm

Dang it Stan you didn’t ask about San Jose Duke or Georgiae stat. What is 13 stuff you need to know we don’t count gettin awards from the dreamland barbq or Milo hamburger as real Natinal chumpionships. Com on boy wake up. This is bama not Georgie Tek

Johnny Test

January 8th, 2010
5:01 pm

Georgia State fottball ranking UGA #1.

The sad thing for Techies is that in our worst year since 1996 they still can’t beat us. 30 to 24…. Glad, oh so glad it hurts so bad.

Danny Forde

January 8th, 2010
5:03 pm

Com on now test you know we aint playing them teams, heck Saban got us playing Ga State, they never played a game b4. I think I could win at Vandy with his schedule.

Tide Rising

January 8th, 2010
5:04 pm

Standing bet to the guy posting as Mike Shula,

I got $1,000 if you can provide any proof of these so called Gadsden allegations which all started on an Auburn blog 1 1/2 years ago, were looked into, and are completely and utterly bogus.

Please provide you proof and I’ll wire you a grand. That’s all ya gotta do. You can do that can’t you? Money talks and boolsheet walks.

Denver Dog

January 8th, 2010
5:04 pm

Sick and tired, just be a little patient.

just the facts

January 8th, 2010
5:08 pm

Tony,

I enjoy your articles. Those few AJC readers that use the space for a GT/UGA Bash Session are really immature and need to get a life. As a College Football fan who DOES travel to as many various college campuses to watch a game it amazes me how little life some of the moron post can be.

The SEC is the dominate conference and the BCS Titles reflect it.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2010

The SEC EAST will be up for grabs:

South Carolina has the a shot at winning this one.
Georgia should get better if they can find a defense.
Florida will need some new blood to step up to make any kind of run.
Kentucky will begin a new era with a new coach but has some major talent in the bluegrass stables.
Tennessee needs to replace their best 7 players and will take a step or two back.
Vanderbilt will run some teams hard.

WEST

Alabama will lose some top defensive players but will reload and should compete for a BCS title.
LSU has the talent the question is can the free for all under Les Miles continue.
Arkansas has stockpiled some talent and if Mallet returns they will win some big games
Mississippi State can impress with a few breaks.
Auburn still needs some help on defense and may need 1 more year of recruiting.
Ole Miss will need to fill some major holes and find a quarterback.

Enjoy the Statue and a the Crystal….two in a row is harder.

Tide Rising

January 8th, 2010
5:10 pm

Danny Forde,

You might want to review the complete schedule before you start talking about Georgia state and San Jose. bama also plays in the toughest division in college football and plays the top 3 teams in the east from last year including Florida and then Penn State. That’s 8 bowl teams we will be playing from last year. Playing the georgia state game is a favor to Bill Curry to give his young program much needed exposure and Duke last time I checked plays in a bcs conference and finished middle of the pack in that bcs conference. Now kindly STFU now that you know that Bama’s complete 2010 schedule will be either the toughest schedule in the nation when its all said and done or one of the 5 toughest overall.

Danny Forde aint too bright is he

January 8th, 2010
5:12 pm

Danny,

Hey ignorant freaking moron. Show me one schedule in the country that doesn’t show at least 2 pansies on their schedule. Come on moron.

a guy for playoffs

January 8th, 2010
5:18 pm

Boise st. gets go champs.

Saban was a bargain

January 8th, 2010
5:24 pm

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, we’re in Heaven, Alabama!

The negative comments about the Crimson Tide and Saban and the hope that he will soon move on are all rooted in envy and jealousy. How could Alabama get this? The State of Gerogia and its people are far superior. Right! Truth: Georgia without Atlanta is Mississippi without the casinos.

RTR: Saban and the Tide win back-t-back next year and the “you would not have won if Colt McCoy had not gotten hurt” is all the motivation they will need.

UA Alum92

January 8th, 2010
5:29 pm

Congrats to Coach Saban and the boys for one hell of a ride. Perfect season, Heisman Trophy, SEC and National Champs. Wow. I’d be on cloud nine, but I’m having trouble coping with the fact that it’s eight months until our next game. RTR!!!

Danny Forde

January 8th, 2010
5:37 pm

Tide Risin, it shore won’t the tuffest this year, heck back when I played at Bamer we played real teams none of this Dook and make believe states like Ga and San Jose. What I sawed from the strength of schedule, you weren’t the toughest in west SEC much less the SEc, much less the country. Just trying to improve our schedule and team. Boise didn’t play any patsies and niether did TCU. Heck youngstr I was captn there at Tuskerloser before you even was hatched.

Danny Forde

January 8th, 2010
5:38 pm

Well dumbies, and I ain’t a fan of theres but Georgie didn’t have two patsies on the schedule this year.

Danny Forde

January 8th, 2010
5:41 pm

I say that FSU wins the ACC next year, and Arkansas wins the SEC west. SEC EAST will be won by the UGA/SC winner.

Asheville Dawg

January 8th, 2010
5:45 pm

Win a national championship, get a statue. Sabin will win more than one at Bama,though.

UA Alum92

January 8th, 2010
5:55 pm

Don’t know what you’re smoking, Danny, but stop Bogarting. FSU, Arkansas, and UGA or SC? HAHAHA!!! I thought I’d seen some goofy posts here, but that one really takes the Twinkies.

Saban requires a moving company.

January 8th, 2010
6:02 pm

Enjoy it while it last Bamer’s,,,,he’s gonna leave just like he always does….

ESPN Bias Against UGA

January 8th, 2010
6:02 pm

Please, ESPN secures Saban’s place in history.

Richt should have had the same place in 2002 & 2007.