By Adam Reed, Associate Editor, AFCA Weekly and This Is AFCA Magazine | Twitter:@fbcoachdaily
University of Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban is fresh off of winning his fourth National Title with the Crimson Tide, but his influence is much farther reaching than the state of Alabama. This summer Saban teamed up with retired Alabama Assistant Head Coach Joe Pendry, Florida State University Head Coach Jimbo Fisher and his Assistant Head Coach Rick Trickett, to make a big impact on their home state of West Virginia, after severe flooding threatened to shut down the football season for several local schools.
The flooding took place on June 23, and completely devastated local communities, destroying homes and businesses. Many schools lost some of their football equipment to the rushing waters; a few schools lost everything.
“Coach Trickett, Coach Pendry, myself, and Jimbo Fisher, we are all from that area. So we got together on the phone one day and said okay what can we do?” Saban says. “Somebody said these kids aren’t even going to be able to play because they don’t have any equipment. Let’s give everybody something. I’ll do it in Florida, you do it in Alabama, to give one set of gear. At least they would be able to participate.”
The plan was set in motion to ask programs in each coach’s state to donate one full set of equipment for the schools affected by the tragedy. The response was immediate and before long thousands of dollars of new equipment was on its way to the Mountain State.
“We think there is a lot of value in athletics. It’s the one place where kids get taught passion and perseverance and work ethic, discipline, pride in performance, just a lot of things.” Saban says. ” To see those kids not be able to participate this fall because of that, I didn’t think it was a good thing so we all got together and hopefully it will make a big impact on these guys having a chance to play this fall.”
The efforts of these West Virginia natives likely saved the football season for several high schools and middle schools, providing them with the equipment they need to participate until their program recovers. Multiple news outlets are also reporting financial contributions in excess of $65,000 has been donated to the schools affected by the tragedy, helping to put those schools back on the path to restoring their programs.
Saban is no stranger to philanthropic endeavors. He and his wife have their own personal charity, Nick’s Kids, a non-profit organization whose mission statement is, “To work together in the spirit of faith and giving in our community. To promote and support children, family, teacher and student causes. It’s all about the kids!”
The foundation is currently working with Habitat for Humanity to finish a project for tornado victims in Tuscaloosa, building 16 homes to match the 16 Division I championships the Crimson Tide have won.
To learn more about Nick Saban and his philosophy both on and off the field, make sure to check out the September/October 2016 issue of This Is AFCA magazine.