Since leaving LSU, Nick Saban has had a frosty relationship with the state. However, that may change with his latest honor into Louisiana sports history. Today we will look at his accomplishments and his comments on leaving the Tigers for the NFL.
Nick Saban inducted into Hall-of-Fame
Nick Saban joins a class of eight into the Louisiana 2020 Hall-of-Fame class. During his time at LSU, the Tigers posted a 48-16 record with three bowl wins in five seasons. The Tigers had one of the toughest defenses in the country under Saban, resulting in multiple players on his roster going on to the NFL.
What it means to Nick Saban
Speaking to Louisiana Hall-of-Fame Chairman Doug Ireland, Saban said “I’m just amazed this has happened….I didn’t know Louisiana would do this for me.”
Getting inducted into any Hall-of-Fame is an honor, but for Saban to get one from the state of Louisiana is something we didn’t think would happen. When Saban left LSU to coach the Miami Dolphins, it looked like a slam dunk hire.
He wasn’t able to achieve the same level of success in the pros, and left after two seasons. Saban’s replacement Les Miles took over the program and kept their dominance up for a while, even beating Alabama in three of the first five matches after Saban’s departure.
Why Nick Saban regrets leaving LSU
Although he relished the opportunity to become famous in the NFL, Saban still felt a lot of regret leaving LSU.
In an interview with USA Today Saban said: “It’s always hard because of the relationships that you have with players to just walk off and leave them…I thought, too, we had one of the best teams ever coming back the next year…Of course, Katrina, and a lot of other things probably disrupted that team’s ability to be successful. But a lot of those same guys won it in 2007.”
This isn’t a surprising statement from Saban, and the culture around his programs is always one focused on Saban building relationships with his players.
Resurgence at Alabama
After leaving Miami Dolphins, Nick Saban took over a struggling Alabama football program. He quickly turned them into the gold standard for college football and the Crimson Tide have won five national championships under his watch. The hate from LSU fans has always been there for Saban, as the fanbase still feels anger towards him to this day.
The worst moment of it had to be in his first game back in Baton Rouge, as a depiction of Saban was hung in effigy before the start of the game. It was such a volatile situation that his wife needed a police escort to travel around the stadium. Alabama won the game in overtime 27-21.
Did Saban deserve the induction?
When you look at the short amount of time Saban had in the state of Louisiana, it’s safe to say he deserves a spot in its sports Hall-of-Fame. He brought the team its first national title since the 1950s. Not to mention, he turned a poor program into an NFL talent machine.