This Story About How Nick Saban Spent His First Big Bonus Proves He’s Capable Of Emotion
Alabama head football coach Nick Saban hasn’t exactly earned the reputation of being a tender-hearted gentleman. The fiery coach gives off the vibe that he wouldn’t hesitate to backhand his child if he spilled his milk at the dinner table. And his sideline outbursts don’t exactly provide evidence to the contrary, amiright Lane Kiffin?
Well, perception isn’t always reality, and this anecdote Saban’s wife told on Origins with James Andrew Miller this week supports that claim.
Terry Saban, Nick refers to as Miss Terry, fought back tears when she described what Saban did with his first bonus he received in the early ’90s when he was the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns. Mind you, this was a time when Nick Saban wasn’t the highest paid coach in college football.
Miss Terry said, as transcribed by For The Win:
“Way back when our first NFL job — I want to say we were with the Cleveland Browns, and we won our first playoff game, which gave us our first huge bonus, which in our mind, it was a huge bonus. It was probably $8,000, and it was the first time we got a real chunk of money for winning some big championship. And in my mind, I’m thinking, ‘OK, pay off the Visa bill, get a baby grand piano, go to the beach.’ OK, I’m thinking about all these wonderful things we can do with that check, and — I’ll never forget — Nick came home, and he said, ‘I think it’s time we did something for your parents.’
“My dad was a coal miner and, of course, everything he had was the Cleveland Browns — sweatshirts and coats and hats and jackets — and so we arranged to pay off his mortgage on his house, which, you know, not a lot but at the time it seemed like a lot to him and it was once less thing they would have to worry about on a monthly basis. So, we did.
“We paid off the mortgage, and we got the title to the house, and I stuck it in the pocket in the Cleveland Browns jacket. And I’ll never forget him opening that jacket and putting it on and tipping his hat and laughing, saying, ‘Man, it’s good, I love it.’ I said, ‘Check your pocket, Dad.’ And he reached in and saw the — oh, I could cry — title to the house, and he got tears in his eyes and said, ‘Now, I can die in peace, I guess, because now I’m not going to have to worry about the house. But that’s who Nick is, and people don’t see that side of him.”
You are correct, Miss Terry, people do not see that side of him. But I’m glad it exists.
And I guess karma is real: In 2014, Saban inked a new deal with Alabama and also had the $3 million mortgage on his house paid off by a foundation backed by University of Alabama boosters.
Never thought I’d say this, but: Nick Saban, Kind Man.