University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban is gunning for a record-setting seventh National Championship Monday night, when his No. 1 ranked football team takes on No. 2 Clemson. Each team has a perfect 14-0 record going into the game, which is set for 8 pm ET at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Saban, 67, is perhaps the greatest college football coach of all time. He's also a quirky guy.
As Wall Street Journal sports reporter Ben Cohen summarizes on Twitter, "Nick Saban is very good at his job. He's also very weird."
Saban told Cohen in 2014, "I do get text messages, and I do read them. I just don't know how to send them back."
He doesn't even text recruits, though texting as a form of communication between coaches and athletes has become more and more popular since being legalized in 2016. Top-ranked high school player Antonio Alfano, who signed with Alabama in May 2018, told Yahoo Sports that, when Saban was recruiting him, he didn't send one text message. They spoke on the phone or face-to-face.
That's how Saban prefers to communicate in general.
"I really don't email. I don't have Twitter, don't have any of the social media type stuff," Saban said in a 2018 press conference before the College Football Playoff semifinal. "I just like to make it a little more personal, and it seems to work okay with our players."
He also avoids texting for practical reasons. As Saban said during the same press conference, "I hate it when somebody said, 'I texted him to be here at 9:30, but he's not here,' and I'm saying, 'Why didn't you just talk to him? Why didn't you just tell him to be here at 9:30? How do you know he even got the text? Did he respond?'"
"He sees texting as unnecessary," says Barrett Jones, a former All-American at Alabama who played under Saban from 2008-2012. "He's the most efficient person I've ever met. He probably views it as an inefficiency."
In Saban's opinion, email can hinder productivity, too. When he and his wife Terry get away for a weekend, "she gets 387 emails," he told Cohen in 2014. "She spends the next day answering 387 emails. I spend the next day hopefully doing something that's more productive. If you don't send any, you don't get any."
While Saban admitted in the 2018 press conference that his approach is "a little old-fashioned," he added that it "works okay for us." And there's no arguing with that.
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