AT A GLANCE
Name: Nicholas Lou Saban
Born: Oct. 31, 1951
Kids: Nicholas and Kristen
Education: Business degree from Kent State in 1973; master's in sports administration from Kent State in 1975
All-time record as a head coach: 167-72-1
Record as a college head coach: 152-55-1
Record as Alabama's head coach: 61-13
Alabama head coach (2007-present)
Miami Dolphins head coach (2005-06)
LSU head coach (2000-04)
Michigan State head coach (1995-99)
Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator (1991-94)
Toledo head coach (1990)
Houston Oilers secondary coach (1988-89)
Michigan State defensive coordinator (1983-87)
IN THE MONEY
The highest-paid coaches in college football and their annual salaries:
1. Alabama's Nick Saban: $5.48 million
2. Texas' Mack Brown: $5.35 million
3. Oklahoma's Bob Stoops: $4.55 million
4. Ohio State's Urban Meyer: $4.3 million
5. LSU's Les Miles: $3.86 million
6. Iowa's Kirk Ferentz: $3.84 million
7. South Carolina's Steve Spurrier: $3.59 million
8. Oregon's Chip Kelly: $3.5 million
9. TCU's Gary Patterson: $3.47 million
10. Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy: $3.28 million
Source: USA Today
MIAMI — With an annual salary of $5.48 million, Nick Saban of the University of Alabama is the highest-paid coach in college football.
He also may be the biggest bargain.
"I think if you look at the numbers before he was here as far as total revenue and look at the numbers now, it certainly looks like it's paid off," Crimson Tide senior center Barrett Jones said. "More than that, I think from kind of an emotional standpoint, the state is glad to have him just because they enjoy winning."
Since going 7-6 in his debut season of 2007, Saban has rocketed the Crimson Tide to heights they once enjoyed under the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant. Alabama has compiled a 60-7 record the past five seasons and will play for a third national championship in four years Monday night when the No. 2 Tide face No. 1 Notre Dame.
Saban, 61, also won the 2003 national championship when he coached LSU, so Monday could give him four titles. The only other coach in the modern era with more is Bryant, who won six. But Saban has not been one to stop and celebrate along the way.
"This is a process, what we do, so there is no continuum in success," Saban said. "It's an ongoing process, and you have to look at the next play and the next game and the next season and the next recruiting class. ... When I came to Alabama, they put on all the books 'The Process Begins,' and it's still beginning every day and every game regardless of what we've accomplished in the past."
As Saban's victory total has swelled, so have the university's finances.
Alabama's athletic department brought in $67.7 million in revenue and had a $7.1 million surplus the year before his arrival, according to figures compiled by USA Today. Last fiscal year, Alabama's athletic revenue was $124.5 million and its profit was $19.4 million.
Football alone produced $82 million in revenue and had a profit of $45.1 million.
The only college football programs with greater revenue than Alabama during the last fiscal year were Texas ($103.8 million) and Michigan ($85.2 million).
Four football programs were more profitable: Texas ($77.9), Michigan ($61.6), Georgia ($52.3) and Florida ($51.1). Tennessee's profit was $38 million.
Plus, every game at Bryant-Denny Stadium provides Tuscaloosa an economic impact of about $25 million. Alabama has spent more than $115 million on Bryant-Denny since Saban's arrival, expanding its capacity to nearly 102,000.
"What goes on around our campus strengthens our department, and what happens in our department strengthens the university," Alabama athletic director Mal Moore said. "Everybody is on the same page, and Coach Saban plays an integral role. We are very fortunate to have him."
Other schools in the Southeastern Conference have not been as fortunate trying to keep pace. Tennessee is now on its fourth coach since Saban's arrival at Alabama, and Auburn is on its third.
Tennessee has lost all six meetings against Saban's Tide, including the past three by 31-point margins. UT's Derek Dooley was fired in November for his inability to beat Alabama and other upper-echelon conference teams, and the university is paying him $5 million over four years under terms of the buyout.
Auburn won the 2010 national championship but fired coach Gene Chizik a day after the Tigers lost 49-0 in November in Tuscaloosa. Chizik and his former staff will collect a buyout of more than $11 million over four years.
"It's a league of win now, and I don't think it helps other schools that Saban is doing what he's doing," said ESPN analyst David Pollack, a former Georgia defensive end.
"It's a ridiculous run that he's on, and they only have nine seniors. That's not right. Their system is just so strong and precise," Pollack said.
"If Alabama plays a clean game and doesn't turn the ball over, there is nobody that is going to beat them."
Saban agreed last March to a new contract that runs through Jan. 31, 2020.
"When you hear Nick Saban, you know exactly who you're talking about," Notre Dame outside linebacker Danny Spond said. "You know what he's built and brought to Alabama and wherever he's gone. He's a coach anybody would want to play for if you want to win."
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...