Saban Speaks Out On Profession

Alabama Coach Nick Saban had a message to share Wednesday. It was precipitated by a question earlier in the week, and it addressed that question. But the real message was much broader.



Some media members have attempted to connect Alabama Coach Nick Saban with unethical conduct in the National Football League. Earlier this week an Atlanta sportswriter phrased a question to Saban that included the allegation Saban had been guilty of an ethics violation when he was head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

Saban denied the allegation Monday and expanded on his answer Wednesday, noting that when the question was posed earlier he didn't know where the allegation had come from. He said he later realized it had to do with use of a television videotape he had shown to his Dolphins. The NFL exhonorated Saban in that case.

The Tide coach said he had used that tool so his team would be aware of a double cadance used by the opponent. He said that Georgia -- Alabama's opponent this week -- does much the same thing, and it is difficult for a defense to know how to handle it if it is not aware.

That unnecessary defense, though, was not the thrust of Saban's Wednesday message.

He emphasized his commitment to doing things the right way.

"In my opinion, we (coaches) have a responsibility and an obligation to our players -- just like we do to our children -- to set the right example. We talk about doing things the right way."

He said that is in every aspect, from recruiting to having never trying to get an opponents signals.

He used an example from when his son Nicholas, now a college student, was nine years old. Saban said that his son was often on the sidelines for his father's footbal games. Once when his son was playing a basketball game he earned a technical foul.

Saban said he used the situation to explain to his son the importance of an athlete keeping his emotions in check, staying on an even keel for the benefit of his teammates, etc. A great speech if he said so himself, Saban said.

And his son listened. But his son must also have been thinking about those days on the sidelines watching his father coach.

"I was a little more emotional than I am now," Saban said. "I've mellowed through the years."

And after Saban was finished with his speech, nine-year-old Nicholas asked, "Dad, how many headsets have you broken?"

Saban said it made him realize the importance of teaching through example.

Saban also noted that his father had been a coach, an unpaid volunteer youth coach who bought a bus so he could transport his team. "He affected a lot of people," Saban said. "He's probably the reason that I'm a coach." And Saban said the ability to affect young people in the right way was a factor in returning to college coaching.

"There's tremendous good done in our profession," he said, pointing out that coaches affect athletes in junior high, high school, college, and even at the professional level. "I have a lot of respect for coaches. I have respect for the guys in this league. I know they have integrity and I want our program to be seen that way."

On Thursday night, Saban will be with the public doing the "Hey, Coach!" call-in radio show from Bob Baumhower's Wings Sports Grille in Tuscaloosa. He said he enjoys that exposure, and also enjoys his Friday luncheon address to fans at Indian Hills Country Club. He said it is an opporunity "to get my message out."

And, he said, it's a chance for the public to see that he's not the person that he is sometimes made out to be by others (presumably the media).

He wants them to see that "honesty and integrity is an important part of who I am. It's a matter of how you try to do it, and we try to do it the right way."

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