This spring season marks the beginning of Nick Saban’s 10th year at the helm of Alabama football, and he made sure his detractors made a note of the milestone Thursday night.
“This is my 10th A-Day,” he said, referring to Saturday’s spring game and related festivities. “And nobody here ever thought that I would be here for a 10th A-Day.”
The Crimson Tide coach has clearly grown wearier of job rumors than he has of the job itself.
“How many times have y’all talked about me leaving here?” he said. “None of it’s been correct, and I still get asked that question all the time. Everybody says in recruiting: ‘Coach Saban’s not gonna be here.’ They’ve been saying that for 10 years now.”
Saban said that his first A-Day — back in 2007 — was huge for the program, as a crowd of more than 90,000 fans helped steer momentum away from a 14-season title slump.
He added that the oft-copied tradition “has a tremendous impact on recruiting,” and the Alabama trophy case agrees with him.
“I know a lot of people try to do that now,” Saban said. “We want to sustain recruiting success, which is probably the key, the foundation to being able to continue to be successful. We also need to make the spirit and enthusiasm that we show every opportunity we get — which includes A-Day — that makes it special to be a player here.”
A-Day festivities begin at 9 a.m. ET, with the scrimmage scheduled for 3 p.m. ET (ESPN).