Donald Trump pulled off one of the great feats of his presidency Monday night when he raised a man from the dead. I mean, not really, but follow along on this journey.
During a conference call in which he endorsed former college football coach Tommy Tuberville in Alabama's senate primary runoff, Trump referred to Tuberville as a "really successful coach." Then he went on one of his patented tangents that got people talking. He proceeded to refer to current Alabama coach Nick Saban as "Lou Saban" repeatedly. Just so we're clear, those are two wildly different people and one of them has been dead for more than a decade.
I saw a lot of misinformation about the Saban boys on Twitter in the wake of Trump's comments, so I feel like we need to clear up some things. First, for those of you who don't know, Lou Saban was a journeyman head coach across the NFL and college football for half a century. He was the ultimate vagabond who rarely stuck in one place too long. No, he was not Nick Saban's father; in fact they were thought to maybe be distant cousins but no one ever has ever really provided evidence of that. Oh, and did I mention Lou has been dead for 11 years?
While their last names are the same, that's where the similarities between Nick and Lou end. Nick is one of the greatest coaches in college football history, while Lou was ... decidedly not. A stud linebacker for the Cleveland Browns, Lou Saban went on to coach for more than 50 years. He helped lead the Buffalo Bills to back-to-back AFL titles (1964 and 1965) but that was the pinnacle of his coaching career. Those two seasons were the only time he won more than 10 games in his 16 years as an NFL head coach.
Saban finished his AFL/NFL career with a regular season record of 95-99-7 (.490), while his record as a college coach was 94-99-4 (.487).
Saban was all over the map as a coach, manning the sidelines everywhere from the NFL to high schools to Army, Central Florida, the Arena League and even NAIA Division II squad Peru State. He even went winless for a season at Northwestern in 1955. The dude lived a football life. In all that time, one thing he never did though, was coach at Alabama. He did face the Crimson Tide once, when he brought his Miami Hurricanes to Tuscaloosa in 1977 and got steamrolled by Bear Bryant's squad 36-0.
While he wasn't known as one of the greatest coaches of all-time, Lou Saban was beloved because he was a phenomenal quote. Old videos of him being mic'd up are all-time classics. He was a regular interview about the NFL's good old days until he died in 2009 at 87 years old.
Just to bring this full circle, Nick Saban is still very much alive and preparing to kick off his 14th season as Alabama's head coach. You know, provided you all wear masks and we can actually get a college football season in.