Saint Nick

In his pre-game New Yorker profile of Alabama football coach Nick Saban, Benjamin Wallace-Wells suggests that Saban is an anomaly, perhaps an outmoded one.

He starts with Saban’s hair: “Men who spend a great deal of time on television tend to cultivate hair styles that look ridiculous in any other setting. This is true of game-show hosts and chatty morning anchors; it is equally true of college football coaches. The iconography of coach hair styles has been varied: Jimmy Johnson’s silver side part, concretized by gel, at the University of Miami, or Pete Carroll’s happy-dude pompadour, at the University of Southern California. But today the essential coif in the game is the imperturbable brown tuft of the University of Alabama’s Nick Saban, which appears on CBS just about every Saturday during the fall, the individual hairs pulling up and away from the coach’s face, as if keeping their distance.”

He moves to Saban’s lunch diet: “Each day, as Brian O’Keefe reported in Fortune, in 2012, Saban sits at the exact same table at the exact same time and eats the exact same lunch: ‘a salad of iceberg lettuce and cherry tomatoes topped with turkey slices and fat-free honey Dijon dressing.’ What kind of Southerner sees the menace in regular-fat honey-Dijon dressing?

Wallace-Wells doesn’t understand how an uncharismatic workaholic with “the public image of Satan’s dentist” keeps getting the best recruiting classes.

Good question, but down here in Alabama we don’t much care what St Nick eats or how he fixes his hair, so long as he keeps the Tide within spitting distance of national championships and proves himself a worthy successor to St Bear.

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