The best investment the University of Alabama ever made was the hiring of a football coach who delivered a team that has won three of the last four national championships. So says Dr. Robert Witt, chancellor of the University of Alabama about Nick Saban, who created a football dynasty in Tuscaloosa, Ala. in just a handful of years under a contract that pays him more than $5.5 million a year. Armen Keteyian gets to see up close how Saban managed this feat, as he profiles the famous Crimson Tide coach and takes cameras into his practices and coaches meetings. Saban’s profile will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES, Sunday, Nov. 3
(7:30PM, ET) on the CBS Television Network and WDEF News 12.
Keteyian speaks to Dr. Witt as part of his profile of Saban. The question posed to the academic head of the Alabama University system was simple. As the highest paid coach in collegiate sports, was Saban worth it? Dr. Witt responds without hesitation, “Nick Saban is the best financial investment this university has ever made. We have made an investment that’s been returned many fold,” he tells Keteyian.
Some believe Saban has gotten the team to its lofty heights by being tough on his players. But it’s not entirely accurate, says the coach of the undefeated Crimson Tide. “Well, I don’t know if it’s fair [to say] I am really tough on people,” says Saban. “We create a standard for how we want to do things and everybody’s got to buy into that standard or you really can’t have any team chemistry.”
If he seems to be tough on players, he’s just trying to weed out mediocrity – something there is no room for on the number-one ranked team. “Mediocre people don’t like high-achievers and high-achievers don’t like mediocre people,” says Saban.
In a twist on the old “winning is everything” strategy, Saban pushes his players not to think of winning, but to concentrate on executing each down -- a method he uses to make his team play their hearts out every play. “The approach was to challenge the players to play every play in the game like it had a history and a life of its own…it really is the simple way to do it and it’s the best way to [win],” says the Alabama coach, whose success has earned him a statue on the university’s campus.
Keteyian and producers spent months on the story, bringing cameras to numerous practice sessions and to a youth football camp Saban runs. Keteyian also interviews Terry Saban, his wife of 42 years.