‘Saban: The Making Of A Coach’ Book Due Out Today


For Alabama fans that are looking for something to perhaps take them all of the way to football season, why not let stories and memories from Coach Nick Saban, staff members, family, and friends take you the rest of the way?

‘Saban: The Making Of A Coach’ Book Due Out August 4

I have just the news for you. Just before SEC Media Days started, I was contacted by Simon & Schuster, Inc to see if I would be interested in reading a pre-release copy of a new unauthorized Saban biography coming out on August 4 titled “Saban: The Making Of A Coach”. The author, Monte Burke, is a staff writer for Forbes’ Magazine. Burke hits the ground running and gained 250 interviews with teammates, players that he has coached, colleagues, and many more.

In the first email from Simon & Schuster, there was a quote that was included that could say so much more than me with truth and eloquence.

"Winston Groom, author of Forrest Gump and The Crimson Tide: The Official Illustrated History of Alabama Football, puts it: “If you are a fan of college football—or sports in general—you must read this book. Monte Burke does a deep dive into the life and career of Nick Saban and surfaces with an honest and compelling portrait of one of the most complex, driven, and successful coaches on the planet.”"

Once I began to read this book, it didn’t take that long to finish. I could not put it down. I had heard more of the stories that were being told, but it’s always refreshing to see different points of view for each scenario. I am also not much of a book reader. I can never find the time of the day to enjoy a good book. On the other hand, if it’s history, sports, or music related, I am a fan before I start.

I won’t spoil much of the book, but I would like to give you summaries of a few passages from the book.

It all begins right where it should, in the West Virginia town where Saban was born. That section is filled with stories from childhood friends and memories of Saban’s father as well as the rest of the family. In a big game with a big lead, we have all seen Saban get irate during the game. In the book, Saban’s father always preached to his Pop Warner league team that the result wasn’t what was desired, but the execution to get the result was. Does that sound like anyone living in Tuscaloosa?

Monte Burke (c) Heidi Burke

Saban’s father was always pushing his young son to be the best that he could be. Perhaps he pushed a bit harder than other dads did, but that drive and push had turned Saban into what he is today. His job-hopping comes into play all the time during the book and I think that stems from wanting to keep climbing to make his father proud as well as to give him the satisfaction that it would have pleased his father. In the book when Saban held a job with an NFL team, it never came off as the money. I think he was itching to try the NFL back then but in nearly every job situation, Saban, and Miss Terry remarked how much they missed the college game.

The book follows his career path from a player at Kent State, through assistant and head coaching stints in college, and his NFL career. Naturally, there would be a few negative stories but the good ones outweigh the bad. The man truly does have a heart for those that are still holding on to that little bit of hope.

One of my favorite parts with some great quotes happens is when the book discusses Lionel “Lonny” Rosen. He is described as a man that looks like he wandered back into civilization after spending seven months on the Appalachian Trail. The psychiatrist has worked with Saban and his teams since the Michigan State game. If this passage doesn’t sound familiar to Alabama fans, I can’t help any longer. This was the beginning of “The Process”

“Motivation itself generally lasts about two plays – it’s highly overrated. Give me a team that has a business-like attitude, a team that can deal with adversity when it comes. The most destructive phenomenon in sports is relief. It’s typically followed by a decrease in performance.”

We all know how it ends and that’s with Saban and his family in Tuscaloosa. The Tide is always in the hunt for a title and recruiting is clicking right along. Funny story about recruiting in the book: When the late Mal Moore, Coach Saban, and family made the return trip from Miami to Tuscaloosa when Saban was hired, Mal was seated facing the front of the plane and Saban faced Moore. As the plane took off, naturally Saban was looking down on Moore a bit and asked him, “Mal, do you think you hired the best coach in the country?” After thinking for a few and not knowing what Saban wanted to hear from Moore, he told him, “Yes, Nick. I do”. Saban quickly responded back, “No, but you got the best recruiter”.

Personally, I think he has them both covered enough for me. I can’t say it enough. Go out and get you a copy of “Saban: The Making Of A Coach”. We have the best college coach right here in Tuscaloosa and it’s nice to know more about the history and what made him into the coach he is today.