Nick Saban got candid recently for a GQ article, and that honesty may end up getting him a few more harshly titled nicknames like maniac pathological or lunatic.
Saban has a manic drive to win, and that drive was put on display during a recent GQ article in which the leader of Crimson Tide Nation, was upset that the hoopla involved in the buildup to the BCS title game against LSU “cost him a week of recruiting.”
The story is this: A few days after Alabama beat LSU to win the 2012 national championship, Rumsey and Saban were on the phone together. Most of their conversations take place precisely between 7:12 A.M. and 7:17 A.M., when Saban calls as he drives to work. But this call happened to be in the afternoon. The two men almost never discuss football—Rumsey is the rare Tuscaloosan who doesn’t know or care much about the game, which, he suspects, has something to do with why he and Saban have become friends. But given that his golf buddy had just won the national championship, Rumsey figured he ought to say a few words of congratulations. So he did, telling Saban his team had pulled off an impressive win.
“That damn game cost me a week of recruiting,” Saban grumbled into the phone.
Rumsey at first thought he’d misheard. He asked for clarification. Saban repeated himself. He just knew that while he was preparing for the title game, enduring all the banquets and media bullshit that came with it, some other coach was in the living room of one of his recruits, trying to flip the kid. The thought was making him crazy.
Rumsey pointed out that Saban and his team had just been on national television before millions of people—including, most likely, every high school recruit in the country—and reminded Saban that they had won the national championship.
“I said, ‘I’m not sure, but I think that helped you,'” Rumsey recalled. “And he said, ‘I just don’t know. Maybe. Maybe that was good.'”
Saban for all his manic ways, believes he’s misunderstood.
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“I think I’m pretty misunderstood, because I’m not just about football,” he says. “I almost feel like I’m not that way at all.”