Saban Can Get All The Socks He Needs

A friend of mine, Dorothy, is an avid Alabama sports fan. But Dorothy doesn't think that everything Crimson Tide is necessarily right. When Bama Athletics Director Mal Moore hired Nick Saban, Dorothy was incensed that a football coach would be paid a minimum of $32 million for eight years work.

On October 25, Alabama defeated Tennessee, 29-9, in Knoxville. Just as the game ended, Dorothy called my wife.

"We need to give Nick Saban a raise," she said as Alabama passed the Orange hurdle en route to a 12-0 regular season run and number one national ranking. Alabama has since fallen to 12-1, losing the Southeastern Conference Championship Game, 31-20, to Florida, but there has been a raise of sorts.

Saban's contract calls for various bonus payments, and he has achieved a few of them this year.

The latest is for being named National Coach of the Year by the Associated Press. Saban didn't just win the award. He routed the field about like his Bama football team routed Auburn in the regular season finale.

In a voting by a select panel of college football writers, Saban received 32 of 62 votes. His nearest competitor, Texas Tech's Mike Leach, got nine votes. Kyle Whittingham, who coaches the Utah team that Bama will meet in the Sugar Bowl, received six votes to finish third.

Saban's contract calls for him to receive a bonus of $50,000 if he is named National Coach of the Year.

It is the second time Saban has received the honor. He was selected in 2003 when he was at LSU.

Saban turned Bama from a 7-6 team in 2007 to a team that was ranked first in the nation for much of this season. Alabama is ranked fourth in the nation and will meet Utah, 12-0 and ranked sixth in the nation, in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 2. Fox will televise the game, which begins at 7 p.m. CST.

Alabama's football team is taking a few days off for Christmas and will assemble in New Orleans Saturday to resume preparations.

Saban's contract called for him to make $3.75 million this year. (The $32 million over eight years was not divided into equal parts; he has built-in raises each year.) In addition to the Coach of the Year bonus, he receives a bonus of $125,000 for taking Alabama to a BCS bowl game, $75,000 for coaching the Tide to the SEC Championship Game, and $25,000 for winning SEC Coach of the Year honors.

Dorothy will be happy to know that adds up to $4,025,000 this year.

That may make up for the socks.

Just before Christmas, Saban said that he had told his wife, Terry, not to get him any gifts. Too late, she said. She had already gotten his present. "Socks." Saban, who usually appears in media events shod in black Gucci loafers sans socks, said, "For what I got her we could have had a truckload of socks. It used to be I couldn't wait for Santa Claus. Now I am Santa Claus."

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