Nick Saban, the best coach in college football, is profiled by Warren St. John (a lifetime Alabama fan
grad) in the newest issue of GQ, and after reading it this morning, here’s my takeaway: I like the devil, er, Saban. Among the factoids I learned about the Alabama coach: he doesn’t listen to country music, his perfectionist Dad was a Pop Warner coaching legend in West Virginia, Saban met his wife in 7th grade, and he’s a devout Catholic who goes to church every Sunday.
Now, the three best passages:
Saban on food and habits (rituals – we’re so much alike!)
For breakfast, he eats two Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies; for lunch, a salad of iceberg lettuce, turkey, and tomatoes. The regular menu, he says, saves him the time of deciding what to eat each day, and speaks to a broader tendency to habituate his behaviors.
Saban on ignoring strange fans:
Just before he reaches his Mercedes, Saban is approached by an Alabama fan who wants to thank the coach for signing a football for his son. It meant so much to the boy, the man says. Saban gives the man a confused look, as if not comprehending how this large animate object had suddenly appeared in his path, and gets in the car without saying a word.
Saban will never stop working, ever.
Big Nick’s inuence also has something to do with why, even after a big victory, Saban feels less joy than relief. Saban is reaching for a standard, so there are only two possibilities: Either you did what you were supposed to do, or you fell short. If you fell short, you go work harder and better to try to meet the standard next time. And if you met the standard, you go work doubly hard to fight off complacency—a fatal disease transmitted by pats on the back and post-game confetti—so you have a shot at meeting it again. The process, then, is never over.
I greatly enjoyed that passage and read it multiple times. The other writers on this site (and my wife) are well aware that I 100% agree with Saban’s standards here. Never satisfied. Ever.
Related: Nick Saban’s $51,810,000 Recruiting Pitch is Blunt And To The Point
Related: Nick Saban and Les Miles Are Battling Over Louisiana 8th Grader Dylan Moses
Related: Nick Saban Responds to Bob Stoops Blasting the SEC the Only Way Nick Saban Knows How