Ties That Bind: History Runs Deep Between LSU, Alabama

Ryan BlanchfieldAnalyst INovember 2, 2007

Icon Sports MediaThis Saturday, LSU takes on Alabama at 5 P.M. ET at Tuscaloosa's Bryant-Denny-Saban Stadium.

These two schools have loads of ties with each other—the most noticeable belonging to the Tide's head coach.


Nick Saban

After spending one season at Toledo and five at Michigan State, Nick Saban took the head coaching job at LSU after Gerry Dinardo was chased out of town.

In five years at LSU, Saban went 46-16 and led the Tigers to five straight bowls, winning three.

After two less-than-impressive seasons as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Saban decided he enjoyed coaching at the collegiate level more.

Alabama showed interest in Saban, but Saban didn't immediately return it. Apparently, a four-year, $32 million contract can make a man eat his words. 

Saban, once so beloved by Louisianans, is now Public Enemy No. 1 in Baton Rouge.

Despite all of the controversy, Saban has led his team to a 6-2 record and a first-place tie atop the SEC Western Division.


Major Applewhite

Alabama offensive coordinator Major Applewhite also has Louisiana ties, as he's a Baton Rouge native.

Applewhite was a star QB at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge in the mid-1990s. He went on to set numerous records at the University of Texas.

After he was done playing, Applewhite spent two years as a graduate assistant at Texas. He went on to do a year each at Syracuse and Rice before emerging as a wanted man on the coaching carousel.

Applewhite was interviewed by LSU and 'Bama—but his heart led him to Alabama.

"From a selfish standpoint, I was hoping he would come here," said Catholic High head coach Dale Weiner. "But looking at the big picture and what was best for his overall career development, the opportunity to be able to work under coach Saban was something he felt like he needed to do."


Other Ties

- Alabama DB coach Kirby Smart was Saban's DB coach in '04 at LSU.

- Alabama LB coach Lance Thompson was on LSU's staff in '02-'03.

- Alabama DL coach Bo Davis was a nose guard for LSU in '90-'92.


Even for in-conference rivals, these two teams have a remarkably deep history. We'll see how much contempt that familiarity breeds on Saturday.