Many say that coaches, especially on the college level, are paid way more than they are worth. To those folks, the announcement on Tuesday that Nick Saban, head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, had signed a new contract worth $7 million annually could not have been good news.
However, if there has ever been a coach worth such a contract, it would have to be Saban. During his seven years in Tuscaloosa, Saban has revived the Alabama program into the most dominant force in college football. Others might protest that statement, but if they did, Saban would simply show them his three national championship rings (and he could also show them his fourth, which he won with the LSU Tigers in 2003).
While winning isn’t everything, it is certainly a huge part of college athletics. And over the last seven years, no one has won college football games like Saban. His Alabama teams have won 72 games over the last six seasons, an average of 12 wins per campaign. And, of course, those three national championships that Saban sports on his resume don’t hurt.
Another reason that makes Saban worth the $7 million annual price tag is the revenue that he, and the football program, bring to the university. During the 2012-13 season, the Alabama football program raked in $89 million dollars, which was second only to the revenue brought in by the Texas Longhorns. The dollars that Saban produces help to fund smaller sports, as well as other needs of the athletic department and the university.
Great college football coaches can do three things very well: They can recruit, they can develop players and they can beat their opponents schematically. Saban happens to be outstanding at all three.
At 62 years old, Saban probably won’t coach forever. His new deal expires in 2022, when Saban turns 70, so he may consider retirement at that point. But for now, Saban should enjoy the $7 million salary because he’s worth every penny.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.