Alabama Football: Criticism of Nick Saban Comes with the Territory

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMay 20, 2013

TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 20:  Nick Saban, head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide waits for action during the Alabama A-Day spring game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on April 20, 2013 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

It's lonely at the top.

Alabama coach Nick Saban—fresh off three national championships in four years—is currently experiencing the ugly side of being a winner.

It started when Vanderbilt coach James Franklin called Saban "Nicky Satan." Franklin later said it was a joke (h/t Yahoo! Sports), but it certainly wasn't a very pleasant one if it was.

Of course, Saban didn't take it that way.

Saban's former assistant coach Tim Davis, now the offensive line coach for Florida, recently called Saban "the devil himself" while comparing him to Gators coach Will Muschamp, according to

Saban responded, via the report:

Twice. On two occasions. It's just disappointing. If somebody has a problem with me, I'd appreciate it if they'd tell me. If I'm doing something to offend somebody, I'd certainly like to do whatever I have to do to fix it. It's not our intention. It's not what we try to do.

We're in a tough business. It's very competitive. Sometimes you've got to demand that people do things that maybe they don't want to do, but it's not personal.

Jealousy. It tends to turn folks against one another.

This is simply the result of coaches either licking their wounds or trying to steal Saban's thunder. It's disgraceful, and if Davis didn't enjoy coaching under Saban's wing for three years, he should have never been there in the first place.

Saban may not be the most genial character in the world (media members know this more than anyone), but you can't deny that what he's doing is working. I don't doubt it's difficult to work for him, whether you are an assistant coach or a player, but winning three national titles in four years isn't supposed to be easy, either.

I admire Saban for taking the high road and not firing back at his detractors. They don't deserve his attention anyway. Heck, he even made sure to say he didn't connect the Gators coach's words to Muschamp, "because I'm close enough to Will to know that," per the report.

Saban has never rubbed his success in the face of anyone, despite being hailed as one of the greatest (if not the greatest) coaches in the history of college football. He wins with class.

Unfortunately, some individuals don't have the ability to lose with class.


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