Bill Curry Explores Nick Saban’s Impact on College Football [Audio]
Approximately five weeks remain until the beginning of the 2017 college football season along with Nick Saban’s 11th season one the home sideline of Bryant-Denny Stadium.
In his first 10 seasons in Tuscaloosa, Saban has revitalized a football program that largely struggled with finding someone to successfully step in the shadow of Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
One of Saban’s predecessors that roamed the sidelines as the head coach of the Crimson Tide was Bill Curry.
In 1989, Curry led the program to their first SEC title in the post-Bryant Era. His overall record was 26-10 from 1987-1989. Following the Sugar Bowl loss to Miami at the end of the 1989 season, Curry coached for seven seasons at Kentucky before joining ESPN as a college football analyst before starting the Georgia State football program from scratch in 2010.
The former Alabama head coach reflected on Nick Saban’s impact not only on Alabama football, but also the bigger picture of college football on Thursday’s edition of Inside the Locker Room.
“Nick (Saban) has had a huge impact on football. I can tell you that.” Curry said.
He listed a number of areas where Saban has impacted the sport.
“He’s impacted everything about the college game. The way people coach. The way they do special teams. The way they deploy their defenses. The way they nature their staff, and frankly another affect that Nick (Saban) has had is he’s enlarged the opportunities that people to work in athletic departments.” Curry said. “He’s got a big staff, and he uses it well. People have criticized that, but it’s hard to argue with the kind of success they’ve had.”
Saban’s success in Tuscaloosa has impacted coaching salaries. Prior to Nick Saban’s arrival at Alabama, the average salary for a head coach at the FBS level was $950,000 per year. According to USA Today, at least 72 head coaches at the FBS level make $1 million or more in 2016.
Curry talked about Saban’s effect on coaching salaries.
“My initial response is that he probably has because he has done such a great job. He is such a great coach that people look around and think, ‘What do we have to do to get one of those and maybe if we pay somebody, he’ll grow into a Saban?’” Curry said.
During his tenure as an ESPN color analyst, Curry shared his observation of the first time he noticed that Saban could do something special in the coaching profession.
“There was a young head coach at Michigan State, and I watched him go up and down the sidelines, get into the face of each of his players, and I said on the air, ‘This guy’s team is going to win this game. They probably shouldn’t, but they’re going to win this game, and it’s going to be because of the will of the head coach and this guy is going to be a great head coach.’” Curry said.
Catch Inside the Locker Room every weekday from 7-9 AM on Tide 102.9/100.9 and the radioPup app.