Wed Jun 02 07:22am EDT
Nick Saban's resumé features 10 different stops since 1980, none lasting more than five years, including voluntary exits from plum jobs at Michigan State, LSU and the Miami Dolphins. Worshipful Alabama fans can breathe a little easier, then, knowing that their hero seems to have finally found his Xanadu in Tuscaloosa:
"It's always a difficult decision to leave any place, and it is a decision I am never going to make again," Saban said when asked about coaches moving from one job to another. "I am where I am. If they get a football team at Lake Burton [a Georgia getaway where Saban owns a vacation house – ed.], I might go there. Otherwise, I am where I am."
See? There's no reason to worry. No reason at all ...
Saban is right, of course: Success inevitably breeds a web of speculation no coach this side of Joe Paterno can escape, whether or not he's earned a reputation for a wandering eye. (Urban Meyer may have a few thoughts on this subject.) In Saban's case, even disregarding the crazy money, it's impossible to imagine him finding any place that could ever love him the way Alabama loves him. It's a conditional love, sure, but when it's right, there's no matching the passion for the head worthy of the houndstooth crown.
For some indication of Saban's sacred cow status in the state, look no further than gubernatorial candidate Tim James, an Auburn grad whose entire campaign has shifted from shamelessly pandering to xenophobes to convincing voters that no, despite reports to the contrary, he really didn't propose cutting Saban's salary if elected:
James was asked about the Tide tempest during a news conference in Mobile.
"I have one thing to say about that," James said in response to my question. He reached beneath the podium and pulled out a red-and-white "Saban Rules" cap, donning it with a flourish.
"Let the record show that I believe Nick Saban is one of the greatest -- if not the greatest -- coaches in America," James said. "I support him 100 percent."
And that, folks, is how you salvage a deadlocked tie for second place in the Republican primary. Whatever other issues are roiling across the Yellowhammer State, anything short of "100 percent" support for the resurrector of the lost Tide legacy is political suicide. Just, you know, as long as he never leaves.