HOOVER, ALABAMA- The lobby of the Wynfrey Hotel is always a point of interest when the Alabama head football coach is scheduled to appear before the press during SEC Media Days. It was ‘Bama Day and the introduction of Nick Saban wearing something other than Purple and Gold at this event.

The crowd was large and several local dentists missed out on a tremendous marketing opportunity. 

It’s doubtful the Reverend Billy Graham wouldn’t have had to navigate through that crowd. The second most popular figure to Jesus of Nazareth was finally whisked through the crowd with the assistance of the University of Alabama Athletic Department personnel, the Southeastern Conference, the Alabama National Guard, and NATO forces.

From the time Saban departed the plane to officially accept the Alabama job he has been the focus in the Heart of Dixie. A recent Google search of “Alabama’s Nick Saban” totaled 218,000 and he is still more than five weeks away from coaching his first game. “Florida’s Urban Meyer reeled in 1.19 million, but Meyer has been at Florida two years and has won a conference and national championship.

“Well, first of all, we certainly appreciate the passion and support that our fans have, the excitement they have about the program,” Saban said. “It’s certainly heartfelt by the Saban’s to see 92,000 people at the spring game to support us and our players. That’s the kind of positive energy that I think is going to be important for us to sustain as a program and will be very beneficial to us become successful in the future. But we do appreciate it. It’s heartfelt. My family, our family, certainly appreciates it.”

It didn’t take long for Saban to get the question that he simply didn’t want to answer. You know, the one about integrity after telling everybody in Miami, Tuscaloosa, and points unknown that he wasn’t going anywhere and wasn’t interested in the Alabama job.

Saban replied wiggling around back and forth like he was auditioning for “So You Think You Can Dance?” He was clearly not appreciative addressing this question outside of Tuscaloosa.

“Well, I don’t think, first of all I don’t know that we need to go through all this,” Saban stated. “You know, when this job opened I said I wasn’t interested in it. I said I wouldn’t talk to anybody until the season was over. Somebody else got the job. It was pretty much over.”

“Basically for our players, our team at Miami, my focus was to help those players try to finish the season in a successful way, and this was not something we would entertain until the season was over. When I made those statements they were true. I believed them. It was in the best interest of our team. We were going to protect our team and the players on our team every way we could from a loyalty standpoint.”

“When the season was over, as we sometimes do, my wife and I sat down and decided that maybe this is something that we should look into” he continued. “We love college football. It had nothing to do with the Miami Dolphins or the NFL. We love college football. Something we had to learn about ourselves to go to the NFL.”

“When we learned about it, we felt like, 55 years old, where do you want to spend the rest of your time?”, he recalled.“We love college football because we like the spirit and enthusiasm of it. We feel like we can impact and affect young people in a more positive way in college football because of their age. The development process they’re going through. The idea that we can develop people that can be more successful in life for something been involved in our program by seeing them be successful as students, seeing them develop at football players, which is kind of a metaphor of life when you play sports. And to see them be successful in their career is all ways we felt like there was a lot of positive self gratification for us being a college coach.”

“That’s certainly what we wanted to finish our career doing, and that’s absolutely what we’re going to do. That’s my story and it always will be. Maybe we could have handled it a better way.”

No kidding. And it still could use some serious polish, Nick. You could learn a lot from Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan. He initially had no comment and then

owned up to making a mistake without the pathetic attitude. 

Saban later provided us with these gems.

“Well, I never tried to leave Miami, so I wouldn’t have tried to leave Miami,” he stated. “I would be at Miami right now. I have never tried to leave anywhere. I never tried to leave LSU.”

What a load of crap. Yogi Berra couldn’t have said it better himself. 

He knew that he was interested in the ‘Bama job, just like he knew that he was interested in the Dolphins position while at LSU. A simple no comment is best in those situations. Who cares if it creates a media frenzy. You can bet the Tigers and Dolphins players assumed there was a flame that caused so much smoke anyway.

I have no doubt that Saban will be successful at ‘Bama. Competition He is an outstanding football coach, who by all counts does indeed care about his players. The battles between Saban and Auburn’s Tommy Tuberville figure to be a lot of fun.