The Saban Affect

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban has re-defined college football as we know it. As I am writing this, Saban’s career record is an astonishing 258 wins, 65 losses, and one tie. The life blood of any successful college program is the recruiting. Every year head coaches around the United States are pacing, chewing some nails, and waiting for 17 and 18 year old kids to make up their minds of whether they are coming to the University that coaches have the privilege of coaching for, and answering to alumni, college presidents, fans, and those “oh so” important boosters of the program.

Nick Saban has been in Tuscaloosa for 14 years and he has only had one recruiting class outside of the top 5. That year Nick Saban was a paltry 6th! I mean the nerve, the unmitigated gall of Nick Saban to rest on his accomplishments and to coast into a 6th place recruiting class. Now, I am kidding about Saban and coasting. The man is just driven and built different than others. Saban demands and expects excellence from everyone in his organization, even down to his hydration specialists and equipment guys. They get the same grief as his players do when they miss an assignment. You’re only as strong as your weakest part…. Right? Alabama’s head man puts in 15 hour work days and gets home after 10 p.m., not bad for a 69 year old!

When you factor all this in, this is why if Bill Belichick is the “godfather” of the NFL, Nick Saban is the head of a shadow organization that strives for world dominance. Saban has been successful in various ways, he has won defensively just stifling SEC offenses and he has been able to adapt to the more spread offense and have explosive offensive teams. Pick your poison when it comes to Alabama Crimson Tide.

Another measure of Nick Saban’s success and dominance over the college game is his vast coaching tree. Kirby Smart and Jimbo Fisher have been successful in their head coaching positions. Touching Saban is like touching a genie lamp or like Oprah Winfrey’s favorite things holiday episodes. “And you get a head coaching job… EVERYONE gets a head coaching JOB!”

Nick Saban’s Coaching Tree

  • Kirby Smart (Alabama): Georgia HC
  • Jimbo Fisher (LSU): Texas A&M HC, Florida State HC (2010-17)
  • Jeremy Pruitt (Alabama): Tennessee HC
  • Will Muschamp (LSU): South Carolina HC, Florida HC (2011-14)
  • Mark Dantonio (Michigan State): Michigan State HC
  • Derek Dooley (LSU): Missouri OC, Tennessee HC (2010-12), Louisiana Tech HC (2007-09)
  • Jim McElwain (Alabama): Central Michigan HC, Florida HC (2015-17) Colorado State HC (2012-14)
  • Lane Kiffin (Alabama): Ole Miss HC, Florida Atlantic HC (2017-19)
  • Bobby Williams (Michigan State): Oregon ST, Michigan State HC (1999-2002)
  • Jason Garrett (Dolphins): Dallas Cowboys HC
  • Dan Quinn (Dolphins): Atlanta Falcons HC
  • Mike Mularkey (Dolphins): Tennessee Titans HC (2016-17)
  • Adam Gase (LSU): New York Jets HC
  • Pat Shurmur (Michigan State): New York Giants HC
  • Major Applewhite (Alabama): Houston HC (2016-18)
  • Mario Cristobal (Alabama): Oregon HC
  • Mike Locksley (Alabama): Maryland HC
  • Billy Napier (Alabama): Louisiana HC
  • Geoff Collins (Alabama): Georgia Tech HC
  • Curt Cignetti (Alabama): James Madison HC
  • Michael Haywood (LSU): Texas Southern HC (2016-18)

I am sure there are those of you who are not impressed with his disposition with the media and the almost dreading going to the dentist like press conferences, where Saban’s disinterest of being there is almost comical or his critique of his players who played out of their mind and Saban brings up the one time the guy was out of position to make a play.

All in all, Nick Saban does what any crazed college football fan would want out of his favorite team’s coach. He wins! Whether he is warm and fuzzy or not is not the point. Saban just wins. Given his personality and frequent cantankerous disposition, it is even more impressive and surprising that the Alabama football program does not have mass exoduses into the transfer portal.

Nick Saban is the best college coach of the modern era…. Period! As a fan of the UCLA Bruins, I am glad to have a prickly, smarter than you Chip Kelly. He is not Saban, not at all. But Saban’s hard driving, do not leave any crevasse unidentified, almost maniacal style has worked. Kids want discipline and for someone to create great practice habits, and last but not least, prepare them for what the next step is. Nick Saban does not promise playing time or exposure to any incoming freshman. He does promise to build them and mold them into the best version they can be, if they are willing to put in the work that he himself is putting in, every 15 hour day, to be the best program in college football. The results are irrefutable.

Blog by Vince Carter Host/Editor of QP Sports Exchange

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