- Faith: Catholic
- Career: Coach
- Birthday: October 31, 1951
Nick Saban is a retired football coach. Widely considered one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, he last served as the head football coach at the University of Alabama from 2007 to 2023. Saban also previously served as head coach of the Miami Dolphins and at three other universities: Louisiana State University, Michigan State University, and the University of Toledo.
Born in Fairmont, West Virginia in 1951, Saban seemed destined for a sports-driven life. His passion for football was ignited and nurtured by his father, Nick Saban Sr., a fervent football coach who knew the importance of the game. As a young boy, he absorbed the lessons his father taught him on the field, fostering a love for the sport that would guide his life's trajectory. Later, Saban pursued his higher education at Kent State University, not only as a student but also as a football player under the mentorship of head coach Don James.
Nick Saban's climb to the pinnacle of college football didn't occur overnight. After cutting his teeth as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Kent State, he quickly showcased his leadership abilities and in-depth knowledge of the sport. His dedication and skill took him through an assortment of coaching positions at various colleges and universities and the NFL. The pivotal moment in Saban's early career arrived in 1990 when he took the helm at the University of Toledo as head coach. Yet, his most iconic role, the one that would cement his place among the coaching greats, was still on the horizon. It was in 2007 that Saban would take on the challenge as head coach of the University of Alabama, setting the stage for an unmatched reign of success.
Under Saban's leadership, Alabama experienced an epoch of unprecedented success. His impressive tenure with the Crimson Tide is adorned with six coveted national championships. But his commendations go beyond team achievements. Saban himself has been the recipient of numerous individual accolades, such as the Paul 'Bear' Bryant Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a college football coach. His coaching brilliance, relentless pursuit of excellence, and the ability to inspire his team have propelled Alabama into a league of its own, setting the bar high in college football. The Crimson Tide, under Saban's guidance, became an indomitable force on the field. Beyond the trophies and awards, Saban's influence has fostered an environment of resilience and teamwork that has become the cornerstone of Alabama's football program. In 2013, Saban was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
Saban won six national championships with Alabama and one with Louisiana State University. His seven titles are the most by any coach in college football history.
On January 10, 2024, Nick Saban announced his retirement. "The University of Alabama has been a very special place to Terry and me," Saban said in his retirement announcement. "We have enjoyed every minute of our 17 years being the head coach at Alabama as well as becoming a part of the Tuscaloosa community. It is not just about how many games we won and lost, but it's about the legacy and how we went about it. We always tried to do it the right way. The goal was always to help players create more value for their future, be the best player they could be and be more successful in life because they were part of the program. Hopefully, we have done that, and we will always consider Alabama our home."
Beyond the football field, Nick Saban is a man deeply devoted to his family. He shares his life with his wife, Terry Saban. Together, they have two children, Nicholas and Kristen, who have also grown up sharing their father's love for football. The Saban family is well-known for their philanthropic activities. They established the Nick's Kids Foundation, an initiative that actively supports children, teachers, and families who are in need.
Nick Saban's Religious BeliefsSaban is a devout Catholic who regularly attends mass. When asked in 2016 if his Catholic faith plays into his success as coach, Saban answered, “I don't think there's any question about the fact that character [and] moral development are all a part of leadership. ... I look at it as, we always say, ‘God have mercy,’ but that mercy is not a well. It's not a cistern. It's a channel that should run through us to other people. That's part of what we try to do for our players, so they have a chance to be more successful in life.” In 2016, a Catholic student center named after Saban opened in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the university’s home. The Saban Catholic Student Center is part of the St. Francis of Assisi University Parish in Tuscaloosa.
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