Saban’s career record in 11 seasons as a college head coach (five at LSU, five at Michigan State and one at Toledo) is 91-42-1, meaning he has won 68 percent of his games. In his own conference, that places him behind Meyer, Georgia’s Mark Richt (.782), Tennessee’s Phillip Fulmer (.770) and South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier (.756).
Among coaches across the nation, Saban also is behind such notables as Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, Lloyd Carr at Michigan, Jim Tressel at Ohio State and Mack Brown at Texas. His winning percentage even trails that of Navy’s Bob Johnson (.739).
The fact is, Saban has won more than nine games in a season only twice. His record during his first four seasons at Michigan State was 25-22-1. He went 8-5 during his third season at LSU. It is hard to imagine Alabama fans who are thinking national championship by year No. 3 being happy with 8-5.
And perhaps most importantly, Saban’s record against Auburn when he was at LSU was a mere 2-3.
Again, none of this is to suggest that Saban is a bad coach. Far from it. He is unquestionably one of the better coaches in college football today.
What is questionable is whether his record indicates that he is worth all the hoopla and the moolah ($32 million over eight years). Alabama officials wanted Saban so badly they agreed to a contract that does not include a buyout clause should he decide to leave, which is certainly a possibility considering he has changed teams three times in the past seven years.
Yes, Saban has won a national championship, but a number of coaches have a single title to their credit. Winning multiple championships is a rarity, especially these days. Despite his years of national success while at Florida, Spurrier managed only one title. Lou Holtz, Vince Dooley and John Robinson are among the coaching greats who were one-and-done when it came to national championships. The legendary Bo Schembechler never won a title, and Frank Beamer is still without one.
Since the beginning of the BCS in 1998, the only coaches to pick up a second championship are Bobby Bowden (who won his first in 1993) and Carroll (who shared the title with Saban’s LSU team in 2003 and then won it outright in 2004).
What this means is if Saban ends up with multiple championship rings, he will go down as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the sport. And to this point, there is nothing in his record to indicate that he will reach such lofty heights.
Good? Without a doubt. Great? Possibly. But one of the best ever? That remains to be seen.
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Video: Football from NBC Sports
Saban hurt by colleagues' comments?
DPS: Alabama head coach Nick Saban was recently trash-talked by colleagues, and he tells Dan Patrick what he think of these comments.
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