So who is the most powerful coach in sports today? Nick Saban of Alabama according to Forbes magazine (9-1-08 issue). Forbes wastes no time in anoiting Saban as the best of the best and ahead of the rest when it comes to being the most powerful sports coach in our time.
While God-fearing, forbes rabid fans in Alabama recognize that Saban is not God, they certainly think he is a god in the sense that he is a superhuman being who has power over human fortunes, namely the Crimson Tide.
What is unique about Saban’s stature, as Forbes points out, dani-info is that Saban’s 8-year, $32 million contract gives him complete and absolute control over every aspect of Alabama’s football program-recruiting, coaching, business administration and public relations. No other coach of any other sport enjoys such an advantage, if in fact it does turn out to be an advantage. Time will tell.
Until success becomes evident, apkdnews Saban’s contract also has some very special perks, like 25 hours for his private use of a university airplane, two cars and a country club membership, all extras that make his annual compensation package closer to $5 million per year. He can also leave the school at any time without financial penalty, a rarity in big-time college coaching contracts.
His contract remains among the highest after his first year on the job, schachtelaw and his contract is bigger than all but a handful of NFL coaches.
No coach, according to Forbes, can match Saban’s combination of money, control and influence, and that includes all coaches in the professional leagues. Suffice to say that Saban, and his agent, wealth James E. Sexton II, know a thing or two about how to negotiate an exceptional professional contract.
Alabama can afford Saban. The Crimson Tide football program generated $52 million in revenue last year (yes, college football is BIG business), and had an estimated $32 million in profit. Yikes, that is major profit. How would you like to run a business that generates $52 million in revenue and has a profit of 61%.
Taxpayers in Alabama can also relax as well since not a cent of Saban’s contract is paid by student or taxpayer money, it all comes out of the university’s football program budget, which also funds 77% of the athletic department, including nonrevenue producing sports.
It is Saban who has been tabbed to lift the fortunes of Alabama back to the glory years the Crimson Tide experienced under Paul “Bear” Bryant, who won 6 national championships and 13 SEC championships. When Bryant retired in 1982, Alabama’s football success took a dramatic drop in national prestige.
So how much of an impact has Saban had after his first year? Well, the team went 7-6 and beat Colorado in the Independence Bowl. Saban’s first spring practice game drew 92,000 fans (you read it right). The waiting list for season tickets tripled to 10,000 after Saban’s arrival. His recruiting class this year was rated No. 1 nationally by a consensus of tracking services.
Saban is a control freak (Alabama football practices are all but closed, and he personally authorizes all interviews with his players and coaches), but he is also very successful at what he does. He resurrected football programs at Michigan State (from squat to a 9-2 season in 5 years with 4 bowl games) and Louisiana State (a 48-16 record in 5 years, 5 bowl games, 2 SEC titles and a national championship) before arriving at ‘Bama.
University of Alabama’s president, Robert Witt, sabkobol is fine with everything going on in its athletic program. There have been 100,000 donors to the university’s recent $500 million capital campaign, many of whom are ardent football supporters.
So how will Alabama do this year? Probably very well. With Saban, you either produce on the field or you will be nursing splinters on your backside riding the bench. Nick Saban expects to win, not occasionally, but every bloody time.
That is very hard to do in the SEC, but for $4 million a year you learn to outthink, outwork and out recruit your opponents. Saban has some talent coming, and nothing beats talent when talent shows up to play.