Alabama football coach Nick Saban laughed off retirement plans, discussed the amateurism of college sports and talked about the renovation plans of Bryant-Denny Stadium Thursday.
“We’re really excited about being here,” Saban said. “The Nick’s Kids (Foundation) is all about my dad’s legacy of trying to give back to young people and help them to have an opportunity to be successful in life and also to honor the people who help the young people. We’ve had a lot of great supporters throughout the years. We certainly appreciate their support and what they’ve done to help us be able to help others. I don’t get to see these folks that often, so this is a day that we look forward to. I actually stand on one hole and play one hole with everybody, so I get to renew some of those acquaintances. Their relationship is valued by Miss Terry and I both.”
Saban says the foundation has given out well over $8 million since he and his wife, Terry, arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007.
“I raise it, and she spends it,” Saban said.
Saban was on the golf course despite having had hip surgery in April. He admitted doctors still won’t allow him to swing his driver or 3-wood, but he can use anything from a 5-iron up. He said he can do the things he needs to without a great risk of injuring his hip.
“I think it will still take a few weeks of strengthening to get back to normal,” he said.
Saban said surgery recovery has made it clear that he is not ready to stop working, which is why he chuckles at those who are literally betting on his retirement date (the over-under is apparently 5.5 years).
“That’s the first I’ve heard of that one, but it’s amusing,” he said. “After the six hours I spent at home in the chair after I got home from the hospital, I was outside walking around in the yard, and I think Miss Terry was ready to call the police on me if I didn’t get back in the house, so that’s not something that I enjoy and that’s not something I really want to do anytime soon. I just enjoy being part of the team, the relationships – to have Julio Jones come back the first two days I was doing my rehab on my hip, he was there with me doing it. Tua came in yesterday while I was doing rehab and gave me a medical examination, so some of these things are really special, so no time soon. I don’t know what Vegas knows that I don’t know.”
Saban also talked about what proposed stadium renovations reveal about the football program at Alabama.
“I think it speaks volumes to a commitment to a standard of excellence that the University, the athletic department has to continue to be our best,” he said. “If you stand pat and everybody else is chasing you and what you do, they’re eventually going to catch you. To be aggressive in trying to make improvements is really important.”