Nick Saban reveals why he took the LSU job, Miss Terry's role in it
Alabama head coach Nick Saban gained most of his fame from his time in Tuscaloosa, but the 70-year-old coach had several stops before arriving at Alabama, perhaps none more important than the LSU head coaching job.
During Thursday night’s Hey Coach & the Nick Saban Show, Saban revealed the steps he took to become the Tigers head coach and his wife’s surprisingly large role in the decision-making process.
“One of the reasons that I was even interested in the LSU job when I was at Michigan State was Bill Belichick made us do, when I was working at the Browns, we had to do a ‘Where are all the players in the NFL from?’” Saban said. “Not where they went to school, but where are they from?”
Saban was the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns from 1991-1994, and Belichick, the current New England Patriots head coach, was at the helm in Cleveland from 1991-1995.
“Louisiana was first in per capita players playing in the NFL,” Saban added. “That’s all I knew about it.”
When Saban was invited to Baton Rouge for an interview, he sent an unlikely proxy: his wife, Miss Terry.
“So when they were interested, I had so much pressure on me I couldn’t really go for an interview, so Miss Terry went,” Saban said as laughter broke out in the room. “This is true. She went on the interview to LSU. I hadn’t been there. I didn’t know much of what it was like or anything like that.”
Upon return, his wife provided him with a full, hilarious report.
“She said ‘Well they don’t have very good facilities, they don’t have an academic center, there’s a lot of things they don’t have that I think they need.’ But she said ‘I went in the weight room. They got a lot of damn good looking players.”
From the Midwest to the South
Saban is a West Virginia native, and he started his career in the nearby Midwest. His first head coaching job was at Toledo in 1990. The Rockets went 9-2 that season.
After the aforementioned stint with the Cleveland Browns, Saban was hired as the Michigan State head coach prior to the 1995 season. The Spartans went 34-24 under his leadership, including a 10-2 season in 1999. Saban was directly responsible for nine of those wins, as he resigned prior to Michigan State’s Citrus Bowl win over Florida. It was the team’s first 10-win season since 1965.
Saban ultimately took the job in Baton Rouge in 2000. He went 48-16 over five seasons, and he won three bowl games including a national championship in 2003.
He went on to be the Miami Dolphins coach from 2005-2006 before taking the Alabama job.
The Crimson Tide host Saban’s old team for ESPN’s primetime game on Saturday. The contest kicks off at 6:00 p.m. CT, and Alabama is a 28.5-point favorite.