Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bad Coaches, the College Edition

During the offseason, Nick Saban signed an eight-year, $32 million contract with the University of Alabama to become Alabama's head football coach. The fact that that contract made him the most highly-paid college football coach in the country is not what makes him a bad coach. The fact that he's a lying bastard who has repeatedly shown that he cares not one whit for anyone other than himself is what makes him a bad coach. Let's consider his career over the past seventeen years:

In 1990, he became a head coach for the first time, leading the University of Toledo to a 9-2 season. He celebrated his success by dumping Toledo for a job as the Cleveland Browns' defensive coordinator the next year. When that job didn't turn out so well, resulting in him getting fired after the 1994 season. He managed to get the head coaching job at Michigan State in 1995. The next four seasons were the very picture of mediocrity, with the Spartans never finishing better than 7-5 or worse than 6-6. Then in 1999, he got lucky: Michigan State went 9-2 during the regular season and were invited to the Citrus Bowl to play Florida. Saban didn't coach that game because he jumped ship to Louisiana State University after the last regular season game. He spent five years at LSU, four of which were good and one of which was excellent -- LSU shared the national championship after the 2003 season. In 2005, he decided to try his hand at coaching the NFL's Miami Dolphins. That wasn't exactly a success, so he jumped ship to Alabama in January 2007 after repeatedly claiming that he had no interest whatsoever in doing so and that he would come back and fulfill his 5-year contract with the Dolphins.

You see, contracts apparently don't mean much to Nick Saban. Neither do the commitments that he has made over the years to the high school players that he has convinced to accept scholarships at the schools he was coaching at the time. Whenever the prospect of a more desirable job has come up, Saban has been after it like a dog after a bone. He's the epitome of the modern mercenary football coach, and I don't think that the world of sport is better for it. And I'm upset that I can no longer root for Alabama, about whom I had been moderately enthusiastic for years. Go Auburn and LSU!

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