Saban is ‘Bama Bound

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 3, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

It’s official. Nick Saban is ‘Bama Bound.

Selma was abuzz Wednesday morning at the news of Saban accepting the job of head football coach at the University of Alabama. (See related story on Page A6).

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At the Selma Farmers Co-op off Medical Center Parkway, employees openly shared their opinions of Saban’s arrival.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Troy Melton, an Alabama fan. “He (Saban) did a good job at LSU. He did a good job at Miami. With the talent UA’s got, he’ll do real good.”

Melton’s co-workers, Auburn fans Dorothy Nally and David Hamilton, wonder if Saban can withstand the pressure of leading the Crimson Tide to victory, especially Iron Bowl victories.

“They (Alabama) just want to hire somebody that’s going to be a Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant,” said Nally. “They don’t give anybody a chance. I don’t blame (Saban) for taking the job because he doesn’t have a good team in Florida next year.”

Said Hamilton, “If everything depends on beating Auburn, why don’t they just hire Tommy Tuberville for both teams.”

YMCA Program Director Jamie Tellier, a USC fan who follows all college football, believes Saban is a perfect fit for Alabama, saying the now former Miami Dolphins coach is “a player’s coach.”

“Give him a couple of years. He has a chance to bring back national championship attention to Alabama,” Tellier said. “If Alabama wants a national championship, he’s the right guy to have at Alabama.”

Sherwood Burns, a Selma native who’s studying to earn her doctorate degree in educational psychology at Alabama, said Wednesday’s announcement will surely ease campus anxiety.

“It’s interesting how Alabama makes its way back in the headlines,” Burns said. “It was a bad situation but they’ve put themselves back on top.”

Alabama alum and attorney Valerie Chittom heard of the Saban hiring Wednesday afternoon. Like Burns, she is relieved the search has come to an end.

“I’m delighted it’s him. It makes me feel good we’re getting a professional coach,” Chittom said.

But Mississippi State fan John Bennett wouldn’t describe Saban as professional.

“He kept saying he wasn’t coming. That’s kind of dishonest. That lessens my opinion of the man,” Bennett said.

“I’m thrilled. I think it’s a great move,” countered Sherie Leigh Ousley, owner of The Lily Pad downtown. “It’s the beginning of a great new tradition at Alabama. Roll Tide!”