‘Saban’ A Tidal Force

Going long on college football’s top power player

Gifted. Unwavering. Ruthless. As a head coach and recruiter, Nick Saban has built a legendary career, leading the University of Alabama to three national championships, earning the highest salary in college football ($6.9 million), and becoming one of two coaches to win SEC titles at two different schools. Forbes called him “Sports’ Most Powerful Coach” in a cover story by Monte Burke. Now Burke, a Garden & Gun contributor, fills in the backstory in a comprehensive biography, Saban: The Making of a Coach (Simon & Schuster). Through interviews with more than 250 people in Saban’s inner circle, including players, athletic directors, even golf buddies, Burke reveals the underpinnings of Saban’s success—from his perfectionist father to his obsession with strategy to his West Virginia coal-mining hometown. “People write these types of books about politicians all the time,” Burke says. “To many college football fans, what Saban does is far more important than what the president does.”