Looking back, the Alabama football run of five National Championships under Nick Saban could easily not have happened.
The magic of five, Alabama football National Championships from 2009 through 2017 could have been zero national championships. Two decisions in 2006 and 2007 made the difference.
The Mal Moore hiring of Nick Saban has been told often and not always with the same version of details. Moore’s saga in pursuit of Saban includes multiple compelling stories. Pointing out when those stories are in conflict is pointless. Alabama football fans should be content in believing what details ‘ring most true’ to them.
The superb ESPN writer, Chris Lowe provided some insight earlier this week. It is not another version of conflicting details. Rather, Lowe expands on Rich Rodriquez’s version of why he chose to remain at West Virginia rather than becoming the Alabama Crimson Tide head coach.
Lowe’s story is worth a full read for many reasons, especially this one vignette. According to Lowe, while on an Alabama football sideline a couple of years ago, Rich Rod asked a Tide booster, “Where’s my statue?” Understandably the booster was confused by the question. Rodriquez explained,
I’m partly responsible for those five national championships because if I had said yes, you wouldn’t have had the greatest coach of all time, Nick Saban, winning all those championships.
It is good to hear Rich has a sense of humor, despite a head coaching career turning sour, since 2006. It was December 2006 when Rodriquez turned down Mal Moore. Credible recollections are Moore was being coy with the offer. Moore had chased Saban and asked Spurrier about any interest, before offering Rodriquez. Under some Board of Trustees pressure to hire someone in December, it is believed Moore made Rodriquez a lower offer than the job warranted. While Rich mulled the offer, Moore got more time to chase Saban.
In the Chris Lowe article, Rodriquez says the Alabama offer was not as attractive as staying at West Virginia.
at the time — and I know it sounds crazy now — we were in a better place at West Virginia than they were at Alabama.
Fans of Paul Finebaum claim the sports-talk star embarrassed Rodriquez and his wife, making fun of her ‘bouffant’ hairstyle. Those fans believe Rita’s displeasure with the Finebaum created furor was the reason for her husband’s decision.
However it actually played out, less than a month after Moore made the Rodriquez offer, Mal got his man. The one he wanted from the very start.
What is sometimes forgotten is the role Miss Terry played. Her desire for a return to college football was apparently the tipping point for Nick Saban.