Saban Gets Another National Coach Award

Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban has another national "Coach of the Year" plaque for his wall. And this one, which came with the help of fans' voting, includes a healthy donation for his favorite charity and for The University of Alabama National Alumni Association.

Here is the announcement from the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame on Saban and other winners:

Every college football coach shares a love of the game and tenacity to win, yet today four coaches share the distinct honor of this year's best display of success, integrity, and sportsmanship both on and off the field. University of Alabama Coach Nick Saban, James Madison University Coach Mickey Matthews, Pittsburg (Kan.) State University Coach Chuck Broyles, and Mount Union College Coach Larry Kehres are the 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award winners.

Each winning coach receives $50,000 from Liberty Mutual Insurance to support his favorite charity and $20,000 in scholarship funding for his school's alumni association. Now in its third year, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year charitable and scholarship donations total $680,000. The winners also will be recognized in the permanent Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year display at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind.

"These four coaches represent all that is great about college football," said Archie Manning, chairman of the National Football Foundation & College Football Hall of Fame. "They share a collective belief that how you win is every bit as important as winning itself. They value and demonstrate respect, sportsmanship and civic involvement, and have left a positive footprint on their universities, their student-athletes, and their communities."

Coaches Saban, Matthews, Broyles and Kehres were chosen through fan votes at and ballots cast by an elite selection committee of College Football Hall of Fame players and coaches and the national media based on their on-field coaching results, sportsmanship and integrity, academic excellence of their student- athletes, and their community commitment. Fan votes accounted for 20 percent of each coach's final score while the College Football Hall of Famers and national college football media accounted for 55 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

A look at Saban:

When Nick Saban's Crimson Tide took the Georgia Dome field in August, hopes were high to improve on last year's 7-6 season. That first-game victory over Clemson was the beginning of Alabama's resurrection in the SEC and countrywide, and led to an undefeated regular season and, ultimately, a Sugar Bowl date with Utah on January 2 in New Orleans. The 12-win campaign set the school record for the largest increase in wins from year one to year two for a Crimson Tide head coach.

Leading a team that commits, on average, 30 percent fewer penalties than its conference foes is a big reason Coach Saban enjoyed such a tremendous season the field. And off the field, Saban is equally poised for success as a philanthropist and mentor. The Nick's Kids Fund he started when coaching at Michigan State continues to be a shining example of Saban's concern for disadvantaged children, and since arriving in Tuscaloosa the Fund has distributed more than $540,000 to 115 charities. And this past June, Saban and his wife, Terry, announced a $1 million gift to benefit Alabama's first-generation scholarship program. Community involvement extends to the players as well, with many participating in a local Life Skills program as well as helping to raise funds for Alabama libraries.

Crimson Tide student-athletes also benefit from Saban's guidance in the classroom. His published mission statement for his team reads, "[Graduating from college] is going to have the greatest impact on the quality of your life forever." And Alabama's rising Academic Progress Rate is evidence of his commitment to their education.

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