An Honest Assessment of Nick Saban, Part 1

By J.M. Comer

Nick Saban.


Oops, sorry about that. Back it up. False start! Let’s try it again.

Nick [reverent pause] Saban.


The University of Alabama’s head football coach. Author. Husband. Father. The Lord of Sabanation. The Sabanator. Saint Saban. The $4 million man.

A man of few words and seemingly fewer suits.

But what is a man? Some say it means being prepared to do the right thing, whatever the price. Jeffery Lebowski, co-author of the original Port Huron Statement, jests it takes that and a pair of testicles.

What makes a good coach?

A curtailed look at Nick Saban’s years as a head football coach offers us this information:

* Entering this weekend’s game, his overall coaching record stands at 98-46-1.

* Before becoming head coach this year at Alabama his college coaching stints were at Toledo (1990), Michigan State (1995-99) and LSU (2000-04). As the coach at Michigan State, his record against rival University of Michigan was 2-3. His record at LSU against Auburn was 2-3.

* Saban left LSU in 2004 and took a job with the Miami Dolphins. He coached the Fins to a two-year record of 15-17.

This series of short columns will examine the opinions of those who have taken Nick Saban into the fold and those who have examined his ideas, vision and successes and failures on the football field. These football experts will offer us Auburn Tiger fans an idea of what makes Alabama’s new coach tick. What stirs Saban’s passions? His soul? Does he lie awake at night in fear? Or would his posed restlessness be a product of the anticipation of rewarding days ahead? Days rich with riches and richy richness.

Who is this leader of the Capstone?

In order to get a clear idea, separated from the passions and biases of the college football world, I first decided to try and look at the opinions of fans, media types and coaches in the world of the National Football League. But mostly, this examination should focus on the words of the unbiased fans of the Miami Dolphins and their two-year relationship with Saban. Surely they still view him as a true master of the gridiron.

Nick Saban, in a word or two

“Liar,” said ESPN’s Pat Forde.

“A mediocrity as a coach,” said respected sports journalist Frank DeFord of Sports Illustrated and contributer to National Public Radio.

“Greasy, dishonorable and cowardly,” said Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald.

Hall of Fame Coach Don Sula in an interview agreed that Saban could be described as “a raging fraud.”

These are just four examples of the multitude of glowing terms by respected men in media and the NFL football world.

But what does the average Dolphins fan think of Saban?

Sadly, my search quickly was ended by the exuberant language of Dolphins fans, which cannot be properly displayed on this family Web site. But we at The War Eagle Reader will try to cultivate a civil representation of their words in some fashion before our two-week celebration of all things Iron Bowl draws to a close.

The eye of the eagle sees all!

War Eagle, dear reader!

A side note: Two reasons to watch football this Sunday

1) Redskins QB Jason Campbell will lead his tribe into Dallas-Arlington-whatever to play the Cowgirls. It could get ugly. Or, or! our boy J-Cam could lead his team to glorious victory in the face of overwhelming odds.

2) Brodie Croyle will start for the Kansas City Chiefs this week against the … wait for it … Indianapolis Colts. I, for one, plan to wear my Roman toga and drink my Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA from a gold cup. Croyle will be thrown to the wolves for my pleasure.

“Wight! Take him away! I want him fighting wild, wabid animals within a week!”



Filed under Diversions / Investigations, Pre-game Notes, Tigers in the NFL

10 responses to “An Honest Assessment of Nick Saban, Part 1

  1. Robert Thames


  2. that saban portrait with the “bahr” is as gross as it is sad. did we really need to know that he dresses right (and i don’t mean the bammer vernacular for correct)? maybe that’s what got that DUI chick so worked up in the first place.

  3. Oh god! The guy that painted that is sick! sick! sick! At least Shula was turned to the side.

    It’s like the time that I bought a tie-dyed “Cat in the Hat” T-shirt in Panama City Beach on a high school trip [embarrassed] and didn’t notice that he was smoking a little sumpin’ sumpin’ until my parents pointed it out when I returned home. How lame am I?

  4. rc

    Those portraits would look really good hanging next to the collection of Velvet Elvis paintings…

  5. P.S.

    The portraits are ridiculous, I am a bama fan and would never buy one, and fact whoever paints them is stupid. However, Cry all you want about how bad a person the Media portraits Saban to be, I think I remember someone else promising he would never leave his college, oh yeah, dear ole tubby made the same promise to ole miss, then turned right around and left to go to auburn, at least saban did it to a nfl team, who deserves whatever they get, the nfl is nothing but a bunch of cut throats anyway. But talk all you want, your just trying to hide the fact that your days are numbered as a sec west contender. Nice losing record by the way, if you haven’t noticed by now our “raging fraud” has led us to 9-0 and a number one ranking in his second year.

  6. Hugh Lofting

    Oh, that’s rich. Going to Miami to get opinions on Saban. Next time, go to Oxford for opinions on Tuubs, why don’t you?

    Oh, and by the way…


  7. TheJoker

    Let’s have an inside look at Tuberneck:

    1) A liar (Pinebox).

    2) A classless jerk (Stomping our midfield logo, allowing his players to take the field first in the 2006 Iron Bowl, and the fingers of course).

    3) A mediocre coach who used Alabama’s weakened state to achieve above average status (outside of his most successful years, which were IRONICALLY ENOUGH our worst, his OVERALL RECORD IS 35-33 and his OVERALL RECORD IN CONFERENCE PLAY IS 16-32).

    All in all, you only wish you had a coach of Nick Saban’s caliber. Where it took Tuberneck TEN years to win an SEC title, it only took Nick Saban TWO. It took Tuberneck SIX years to finally lead his team to the SEC title game. It took Nick Saban TWO years, at both SEC colleges.

    In addition, 2 SEC titles and 1 BCS National Title and a 12-0 record in only his second season at The University and a blowout win over the cow college down the road… Alabama is everything you wish you were half of at the least, and Nick Saban, in his second year, is already a bigger household name than Shug “The Cheater” Jordan.


    And 39 all-time wins. Who’s your daddy? Say it LOUD and PROUD!

  8. Point #3 does not make one damn lick of sense. Auburn only plays Bama once a year. Also, Bama’s weakened state was IT’S OWN FAULT! It wasn’t a victim! Also, I seem to remember Auburn going undefeated and beat Bama under similar (and harsher) circumstances.

    And BTW Bama has to play a couple more games to claim any titles. Let’s see what happens this weekend.

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