It’s all about Alabama coach Nick Saban this week. First it was announced that his memorial bronze statue would be unveiled at the annual A-Day Spring Game on April 16th (see sneak peek of the statue here). Then Saban had the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the baseball team’s game against Arkansas Friday night. Check out Sabe’s arm:
What they call a bronze tribute to Alabama coach Nick Saban I call a float for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Seriously, how many runners does it take to hold this thing down as they maneuver along 34th street?
This statue caused a bit of a stir because Saban is in the prime of his coaching career at Bama and already getting memorialized outside Bryant-Denny Stadium. The rumor is that the statue is set to be unveiled at the annual A-Day spring game on April 17th, but if I were them I’d postpone the unveiling until I’ve built a new one that looks less like a milk chocolate treat and more like Coach Saban. What did they commission a third grader to make this? More pics courtesy of The Juice Is Good:
USA Today released its annual list of coaches salaries for all 120 FBS head coaches. As you can imagine, the coaches at the BCS conferences are well paid, and those in the SEC are truly making bank.
The Top 10 highest-paid coaches in the country (based on USA Today’s research) are the following:
- Nick Saban, Alabama – 5.997 million
Mack Brown, Texas – 5.161 million
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma – 4.375 million
Les Miles, LSU – 3.905 million
Jim Tressel, Ohio State – 3.888 million
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa – 3.781
Jim Grobe, Wake Forest – 2.939 million
Mark Richt, Georgia – 2.937 million
Bobby Petrino, Arkansas – 2.713 million
Gary Pinkel, Missouri – 2.550 million
Note: data was not submitted by some private universities, so coaches like Lane Kiffin, Jim Harbaugh, and Brian Kelly are not on the list. Kiffin would be in the top five based on reports, and there’s no doubt Kelly would be in the top 10. Harbaugh probably isn’t in this group. Also, Urban Meyer was in the 4 million club but is not on the list because of his resignation.
If you want to look at the most overpaid coaches, you can start with
Roster maneuvering is one of the difficult tasks a college football coach has to manage. Because of injuries, attrition, or a lack of development by a player, coaches began employing the practice of oversigning — signing more players than are allowed to be on scholarship, accounting for the aforementioned factors. Alabama coach Nick Saban has already been accused of overusing medical hardships as a way to create more roster space while allowing players to keep on scholarship. Now The Wall Street Journal, which seems to be all over Saban’s case, has comments from three players who say Saban lied about why they were let go from the program.
In August last year, Saban said four players were not being invited back to the program for violating some type of team rule. He said “These guys all did something. It doesn’t make them bad people.…These guys didn’t do what they were supposed to do here, whether it was for academic reasons or whatever. They’re not going to be part of the program.”
The Journal caught up with three of the four players involved — Alonzo Lawrence, Jermaine Preyear and Prince Hall — two of whom said they transferred because of playing time concerns, not because they violated team rules. They believe Saban made the comments to protect the program so future recruits wouldn’t be scared away from signing with the school.
In Saban’s defense, two of the players (Hall and Brandon Fanney) had faced disciplinary actions within the program, but Hall says Saban tried to talk him out of transferring. This definitely seems like Saban is trying to spin things in the best interest of the program and making the students look bad which is unacceptable. There is an easy fix to this situation: a crackdown on oversigning.
I guess part of what makes a great coach a great coach is never missing a teachable moment. With his Alabama Crimson Tide leading Mississippi State, 30-3, Nick Saban decided to give his redshirt freshman quarterback, A.J. McCarron, a few reps. McCarron passed for 50 yards and rushed for -10 during his limited action, but it appeared Saban wasn’t all that pleased with his performance. Either that, or he was way too please. You be the judge. Check out the video of Nick Saban spanking A.J. McCarron:
This story is nothing new, but since it’s never been mentioned here before it’s well worth our time. Back in 1990, Nick Saban was the head coach at Toledo. The Rockets went 9-2 under Saban and had one of the best statistical defenses in the country. Nick left Toledo to coach the Cleveland Browns under Bill Belichick the next three years, but while he was there, a young coach reached out to him.
As the story goes, Urban Meyer was an assistant at Illinois State and hoping to get hired by Saban’s staff at Toledo. Meyer called Saban’s home and spoke with his wife, Terry, who interviewed him and gave Nick a positive recommendation. Saban never followed up, calling the error “one of the biggest mistakes [he's] ever made.”
Meyer went from Illinois State to Colorado State, Notre Dame, and Bowling Green (his first head coaching gig). From there, he went to Utah and went undefeated with Alex Smith at quarterback, and then onto Florida. In his 10th season as a head coach, Meyer has an incredible 100-18 record. He’s worst season by record was 9-4 in 2007 with the Gators.
As for Saban, he never had a losing season until going 6-10 with the Dolphins in 2006, his 13th season as a head coach. I’d say both have done pretty darn well for themselves. I can’t even imagine how good a team would have been with Urb running the offense and Nick handling the defense. That’s like a coaching dream team right there.
One of the biggest debates in college football is whether or not Boise State deserves a spot in a national championship game should they go undefeated. My answer is no because their schedule is not challenging enough, regardless of their win over Virginia Tech and a potential win over Oregon State.
Boise State is a very good team and a fine program — I picked them to beat Virginia Tech — but I firmly believe they would lose a game or two if they played in a major conference. It’s one thing to get up for a big game once or twice a year but it’s a complete other to beat quality opponents every single week. That’s something Alabama has to face in the SEC but something Boise State does not have to in the WAC. Saban noted the difference on his Thursday night radio show, as relayed by The Wiz of Odds:
He noted that Alabama defeated Virginia Tech in its 2009 opener and defeated six other teams that were the caliber of Virginia Tech, or maybe better. And maybe more than that if you throw in Texas and Florida in the SEC Championship Game. …”
“It’s the full body of work. It’s not just that you can beat one team, but if you have to beat six or seven other teams and have to play with consistency to do it, I think that goes a long way in saying a lot about what kind of football team that you have. And that’s no disrespect that you have, because they may certainly be able to do the same thing if they were put in that circumstance.”
At least Boise State will be challenged more regularly when they move to the Mountain West but for now, the situation is as Saban describes it. It’s hard to tell a school before they’ve even played a game that no matter what you do, it won’t be good enough, but that’s the situation for Boise State. You cannot tell me with confidence that they would be undefeated if they had to play Florida, LSU, Auburn, and Arkansas, and that’s the issue at hand.
Saban takes a shot at Boise State’s worthiness as a BCS title contender [The Birmingham News]