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Getting to know . . . Nick Saban

A note to our visitors from Tide Nation: Before reading this weekly post, you should go look up the definition of "satire". Most of you know it, but for  the 4% who don't, this simple exercise will save you 30 minutes of swearing at me and spitting on your keyboard. OK? Got it? Now read on. And try to laugh. It's good for you. 

Sing, goddess, the rage of Achilleus Nicholas, the son of Peleus guy who's cleaning up after Mike Shula, the destructive rage that sent countless ills on the Achaeans likes of Western Kentucky; hurled in their multitudes to the house of Hades Auburn, strong souls of heroes, but gave their bodies to be the delicate feasting of dogs 'Dawgs, of all birds (especially War Eagles), and the will of Zeus The Bear was accomplished since that time when first there stood in division of conflict Atreus’ son the lord of men  Mark Richt, who's won his last two outings against Saban-coached teams, and brilliant Achilleus Slick Nick. . . .

And that, gentle readers, how the Iliad would have kicked off if it had been written by some dude in Prattville named Cletus. You know, instead of having been a collaborative effort of Gene Stallings and Paul Bryant himself.

Nick Saban is of course full of rage, a rage which no man's tortured soul should ever know. A rage that forces him to make wildly inappropriate analogies after losing to directional schools. A rage that could only be stoked by oatmeal creme pies and Red Man.

But let's not blame Little Debbie. Even though Saban will tell you the little sissy has been loafing on kickoffs and will probably have her scholarship yanked after the bowl game so he can ink a thirty-fourth defensive end for the class of 2011.

No, Saban's rage comes from somewhere else entirely. It comes from the place where all the world's rage comes from: West F'ing Virginia. That's right, the spiritual home of the dreaded black lung and the most neurotic state in the Union.

In a desperate escape, young Saban fled acroos the state line to Ohio, where he played defensive back for Kent State. Or perhaps he went there because he couldn't get into Ohio State or West Virginia.

After an illustrious career with the Golden Flashes (and really, as a Golden Flash, what other kind of career is there?), Saban took a series of assistant coaching positions. He started at his alma mater, then coached his way up, down and all around: Syracuse, Navy, Michigan State, Ohio State and West Virginia. Saban even branched out into the NFL, where he worked on Bill Belichik's Cleveland Brown staff. But not before serving two seasons as the head coach of the Toledo Rockets, guiding them to an 18-4 record.

After leaving the Cleveland Browns staff because, as he put it "that Bellichik guy simply does not fulfill my emotional needs"*, Saban took over as the head coach at Michigan State University in 1995, and quickly racked up a series of significant accomplishments, including:

  • Losing three straight bowl games by double digits in his first three years ('95, '96 and '97).
  • Beating both #1 Ohio State and heavily favored Notre Dame in 1998 and still managing to finish 6-6.
  • Leaving as soon as he finally had a reasonably successful season (1999's 9-2 campaign).

The flight in question was to LSU, where Saban stayed for a whole five seasons, winning LSU's first Sugar Bowl since 1968, and a BCS National Championship. He also learned how to make a passable roux, and converted to voodoo**.

Having stayed as long as he'll likely ever stay in one place, Saban booked it down to Miami to take over Wayne Huizenga's Miami Dolphins. I could draw this out, but let's just call a spade a shovel: Huizenga is known for discriminating against voodoo practitioners and told Saban that the chicken blood all over his office simply wouldn't be tolerated. Saban put a hex on him and hit the door headed to Tuscaloosa***.

Going forward, Nick Saban still has much to accomplish at George Wallace U. He hopes to finally get over the hump against Louisiana-Monroe. Also high on the priority list is finally getting a victory over Auburn before the WarPlainsTigerEagles' win streak gets to a number so high they can't count to it (probably between 11 and 14). Finally, he hopes to finally bring another National Championship back to Tuscaloosa. But it's gonna have to be in the next four seasons though, because the meter's runnin', baby.

I'll be back tomorrow with the 5 Things you'll see against the Tide. Until then . . .

Go 'Dawgs!!!

* Not true. Saban left Cleveland for the same reason everyone else does. It's Cleveland. Come February, nobody really needs a reason.

**After painstaking research it appears that this is in fact true. At first I figured Saban for a Wiccan, but alas, straight up voodoo, baby. He's the man with the power. What power? You know the rest . . .

***Wayne Huizenga does in fact discriminate against the voodoo crowd. That's why he gave Jason Taylor the ax. And why he wouldn't hire Mike Ditka.