Ten years ago today, at 10:08 central time, the University of Alabama football program was reborn with the hiring of Nicholas Lou Saban. Alabama was not merely reborn, but, in the modern era, what he has accomplished here may never be replicated again.
The hair is a little greyer, the belt may need to be loosed another notch, and the restlessness is quelled, but the man still possess his love of teaching, of coaching, of developing staff, of helping young people achieve their goals. He loves the process, and constantly evolving it. He still has his fiery temper and biting criticism. He is the dean of college coaches and is unafraid of speaking out for the betterment of the game. He’s not lost his knack in living rooms across the country and whiteboards throughout the Mal Moore Complex. He is still a lightning rod for criticism, mostly unwarranted. His accomplishments, though breathtaking, are still never fully recognized.
But, most of all, he still loves winning. And he is still a winner.
Saban by the numbers:
- 118-18 record on the field
- 66-12 in the SEC
- 51 NFL draft picks
- 39 first-team All-Americans
- 28 consensus All-Americans
- 26 consecutive wins, and counting, just two shy of the school record
- 18 First Rounds NFL draft picks
- Five SEC titles, including the past three in a row
- Five SEC Offensive Player of the Year awards
- Four SEC Defensive Player of the Year awards
- Four BCS and College Football Playoff national championships
- Four Jacobs Blocking Trophy winners
- Three-time SEC Coach of the Year
- Three Outland Trophy winners
- Three Butkus Award winners
- Two Maxwell Award winners
- Two Jacobs Blocking Trophy winners
- Two SEC Special Teams Player of the Year awards.
- Two Maxwell Award winners
- Two Doak Walker Award winners
- Two Heisman Trophy winners
- 2008 AP Coach of the Year
- One SEC Freshman of the Year
- One Biletnikoff winner
- One Nagurski winner
- One Broyles Award winner
- One Unitas Golden Arm Trophy winner
- One Disney SPIRIT Award winner
- One Weurffel Award winner
- One Hendricks Award winner
- One Walter Camp Player of the Year
Todd Jones, in his piece On Saban and Alabama Football, summed up what the hire meant, and what he believed Saban’s impact would be. His words absolutely resonate now with the same hope and rekindled passion most felt upon reflection. Todd’s superlatives would prove to be as prophetic as they were aspiration:
No longer does the sleeping giant slumber away while others succeed around him, mired in outdated and arrogant thinking and willing to suffer the slings and arrows of those who would aspire to its greatness but who do not possess the ability to reach it. Alabama has done what it took to restore the honor and dignity of it's name and it's fans. Alabama didn't look to elevate someone who may or may not be worthy, but instead chose to find someone to elevate Alabama. Nick Saban is the man for the job.
You can read the archive of Roll ‘Bama Roll, from rumor to signing through the reactions. It is fun to browse those old articles and relive the thrill, even as we look forward to the immediate and future achievements of this program, its players, its staff, and above all its coach.
Here’s to ten more great years.
Roll Tide, Coach Saban