Nick Saban: A Common Misconception

Patrick FerliseCorrespondent IJune 24, 2010

TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 17:  Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide watches during the Alabama spring game at Bryant Denny Stadium on April 17, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)
Dave Martin/Getty Images

I was talking to someone a few days ago about the impact Alabama head coach Nick Saban has had on the historic Crimson Tide football program. One of the common misconceptions people have about college football coaches is that all they are only concerned with their salaries.

One common misconception about Saban is that through his career as the head coach of Michigan State, LSU, Alabama and the Miami Dolphins, is that he switched programs just to make more money. When I ask people why coaches switch schools, most say it means they aren't truly dedicated to the program and are just looking for more cash.

Saban's Recent Coaching History

LSU was Saban's first shot at fame. His tenure with the Tigers began in 2000. He rebuilt the LSU program, guiding the Tigers to marks of 8-4, 10-3 and 8-5 respectively in his first three seasons

With three years under his belt in Baton Rouge, Saban led the Tigers to the BCS National Championship in 2003. His final year at LSU was 2004 when he left to coach the Miami Dolphins following a loss in the Capital One Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Saban's first year in Miami, 2005, was a struggle, as the Fins started 3-7, before winning their final six games, finishing 9-7 and barely missing the playoffs. In 2006, Miami was expected to contend for a playoff spot, but fell far short after losing several starters to injury. The 2006 Dolphins finished 6-10.

Through Saban's years with LSU and Miami, Mike Shula—son of legendary coach Don Shula—was the head man at Alabama. The years that followed were not what Alabama fans expected. The team posted half-decent records and produced poorly disciplined players. Shula tried his best, but it was not good enough for the prestigious football program. He was fired in November of 2007.

Saban took the reigns at Alabama and went to work immediately. He changed the way his players performed on the field and pushed them to the best of their abilities while using discipline and improving their collective work ethic. That is something the previous coaching staff lacked.

In 2008 the Crimson Tide made it to the SEC Championship game, only to lose to Florida. Saban pushed his team the next year to claim the BCS National Championship with a win over Texas.

What Has Been Proven

Saban's contributions to Alabama's athletic program have been enormous in the way the team functions in and out of the locker room. This has been the case everywhere he's coached.

The question I raise is that if Saban really wanted more money why did he leave the NFL?

The NFL pays far better than the NCAA. Most college football coaches are already very wealthy from the universities where they're employed.

Saban probably joined the Alabama because it resembles LSU more than any other school. It is a powerhouse. There is also a high intimidation factor for opposing teams, and the players can be managed well.

Saying Saban came to the Alabama just for the money is absolutely false. Most coaches in the NCAA don't coach for the money, they do it for the championships and to build a legacy with a team.

That is why Saban found his match with Alabama.