Wednesday night, in the middle of his weekly radio show, Alabama coach Nick Saban reflected on his first days as a coach at Kent State, in 1973.
“I don’t think coaching has ever been really about how much money you make for coaches. It never has for me,” he said. “I made $8,000 a year my first job.”
But the times have changed — Saban knows this — and with coaches being paid steeper salaries now, fan bases and athletic departments have raised their expectations.
That, Saban suggested, is one of the reasons there are so many head coaching jobs opening up at the end of this season. Organizations want their desired results every season, and the second that doesn’t happen, doubt creeps in.
“Externally the expectations are greater because, ‘OK, we’ve made a tremendous commitment in terms of what we paid these people,” Saban said. “When that doesn’t happen … they’re anxious to make a change.”
But Saban has a piece of advice for those athletic directors and boosters making changes. And though he didn’t reference LSU coach Les Miles directly, it’s not crazy to think that Saban had him in mind.
Find a new coach stronger than the current one.
Saban said he’s seen how dominant some of these coaches who could be in the hot seat have been over the years. Hiring someone who won’t produce at the same level negates the purpose of hiring someone new at all.
“I think sometimes, these expectations that fans have and expectations that people have … when that doesn’t happen, everyone’s extremely disappointed — become really, really negative,” Saban said. “That sort of builds into a frenzy of ‘Let’s do something crazy.’”