Alabama coach Nick Saban was in Kirby Smart’s shoes 21 years ago
ATLANTA — There has been no official acknowledgement from Alabama, Georgia or Nick Saban, but Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart will likely try to split time between ‘Bama and his new gig as the Bulldogs’ head coach this December.
That seems like a daunting task, but it’s not unprecedented at Alabama.
Current Florida head coach Jim McElwain pulled it off while preparing Alabama’s offense for the national championship and beginning his work as head coach of Colorado State in 2011.
“He did a really good job,” Saban said during his SEC championship game presser on Friday.
How did it work?
Saban said he based his system on the way coach Bill Belichick and owner Art Modell handled Saban’s slow departure from the playoff-bound Cleveland Browns to Michigan State in 1994.
The team provided Saban with an assistant who would take care of all Spartans business for him during the day.
“When I went home at night, they gave me all the people who called, whether they wanted jobs or recruiting issues or whatever it was, and I’d look at it on my way home, maybe I’d look at it in the morning on the way in,” Saban said. “And then I’d hand back and say, please do this, they would do it, and I could go focus on what I was doing for the Cleveland Browns.”
The process worked for McElwain, and Smart will try to make it work while Alabama pursues its 16th national title.