Alabama’s national championship parade stopped near the Walk of Champions on Saturday morning, allowing coach Nick Saban and his players to show off their title hardware.
After a myriad of brief speeches, Saban addressed the fans in attendance. Here is the full transcript:
First of all, let me thank each and every one of you for coming out. We certainly appreciate you braving the cold and the conditions that we have today. But that kind of spirit exemplifies what the University of Alabama stands for. And that kind of spirit characterizes what this team was all about this year.
I’ve said it many times how much I love this team. The togetherness that this team had was something special and unique, and I think they accomplished what they did because they traded ‘I’ and ‘me’ for ‘we’ and ‘us.’ And there was no selfishness on this team, and everybody helped everybody be accountable to do what they needed to do so that we could improve and accomplish something of significance that will create a memory for the rest of all our lives: the players themselves, all the fans, all the people who support the program.
But the hard work and sacrifice this team has done, I think you should really appreciate. To face 12 straight elimination games after the Ole Miss game; the resiliency, the competitive character that this team showed in being able to do that, and even coming from behind in a national championship game, I think really shows the spirit that made this team something special, and I hope everybody appreciates that.
I hope we all remember this team, not only for the skill that we have, the great players that we had, the great coaching job that our staff did, but you also remember this team for the heart that they played with and the character that they showed as competitors in winning this championship that I think is really the most special of all because of what this team was able to accomplish.
So, this celebration is not really about all the other championships that we’ve won, or how many we won, or how many we won in the last seven years. This championship and this day is for this team, and what they were able to accomplish and what they were able to do.
So we are here to show gratitude for this team. This group of guys and all that they did to make it an exciting year for all the fans and all of us as coaches, and it will give us a memory that will live even beyond our lives.
You know, when we walk down this Hall of Champions here, we walk behind — over — and see championship plaques of 1925 and 1926. So those players had a memory for a lifetime, but their legacy lives on forever, and that’s something this team accomplished that will happen, too.
So special thank you from me to our administration, to our fans — all of you who supported this team. The players and coaches who worked so hard to make this experience and this season such a special one. But with every thank you goes an obligation; something that we owe you. And we owe you a special thanks as a team for all your support, all your spirit that you provided, but we’ve also given you a memory that you can remember for the rest of your life, and hopefully a program that you can be proud of in terms of what we’ve accomplished, but also what we’ll accomplish in the future.
Thank you very much, and roll tide! Thank you.
Nick Saban (Jan. 23, 2016 — Tuscaloosa, Ala.)