OUR VIEW: New Tide coach brings long chapter to an end

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 5, 2007

The hiring of Nick Saban as the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide closes a long, somewhat painful chapter in the program’s history.

Once a prominent powerhouse, the University of Alabama was a program most every college coach would have loved to have led. Following the high-profile rejections by South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez, it appeared that perhaps the Crimson Tide had fallen far from the heights of prominence where it once stood.

Saban himself did little to change that perception last month when he repeatedly denied any interest, including going so far on Dec. 21 as to deny he would coach at Alabama.

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A few weeks changes a lot. With Saban’s arrival in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who would dispute that Alabama was a program that could draw top coaching talent in college football.

For sure, media reports were mixed. Florida news outlets were the most severe &045; for obvious reasons &045; but even ESPN commentators and syndicated columnists across the nation were taking exception with the &8220;lie&8221; Saban spoke on Dec. 21.

But even the naysayers conceded that the University of Alabama had knocked one out of the park by luring Saban to their sidelines. Furthermore, even the most negative commentators gave odds that the coach who last led LSU to a national championship would go a long way in returning the Crimson Tide to their former glory.

Saban is a tough football coach. He has an ego, without a doubt, but he has shown that he can back that ego up with wins. His philosophy of not just focusing on winning every game but on dominating his opponents may be just what Alabama was seeking.