Dec. 2, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama head football coach Nick Saban has been named the 2009 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Region II Coach of the Year, the organization announced Wednesday.
Region II is comprised of the 12 teams from the Southeastern Conference and nine teams from the Sun Belt Conference in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Mississippi’s Houston Nutt was the 2008 winner.
Other AFCA 2009 Regional Coach of the Year winners include Cincinnati’s Brian Kelley (Region I), Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz (Region III), Texas’ Mack Brown (Region IV) and TCU’s Gary Patterson (Region V).
Saban has guided Alabama to back-to-back 12-0 regular seasons and two straight appearances in the SEC Championship Game. No. 2 Alabama plays No. 1 Florida this Saturday, Dec. 5, for the SEC Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The game will be nationally televised by CBS Sports with a 3 p.m. (CT) kickoff.
In three seasons, Saban has compiled a 31-8 (.795) overall record. He has directed the Crimson Tide to 25 wins in its last 27 games and two straight SEC Western Division championships. Alabama has won 24 straight regular-season games and 16 consecutive regular-season SEC games under Saban. The Tide’s 24 wins over the last two seasons are the second-most among FBS schools.
Saban ranks fifth in winning percentage among active coaches who have coached at least 10 years of FBS football. His 31 wins through 39 games is the fourth-highest win total in Alabama history, trailing only Wallace Wade (34), Frank Thomas (34) and Gene Stallings (33).
Alabama has been ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll in each of the last two seasons. The Crimson Tide’s ascent to the top of the polls during the 2008 season was the school’s first No. 1 ranking since 1980. In addition, he has guided the Tide to a 7-2 record against Top 25 teams over the last two seasons.
Saban stresses the total program and the Crimson Tide’s 13 graduates lead all FBS schools this season, while the school’s 75 percent graduation rate ranks second nationally among FBS programs ranked in this week’s Associated Press Top 25
In 2003, Saban led LSU to a 13-1 record and the BCS National Championship. Overall, Saban has coached three conference championship teams (1990 Mid-American, 2001 SEC and 2003 SEC) and nine of his 12 teams have played in post-season bowl games with Alabama already bowl eligible this season. Saban is one of two (Bob Stoops) current Football Bowl Subdivision coaches to coach for at least 10 years and not suffer a losing season.
He is the fifth different Alabama head coach to earn AFCA Region II Coach of the Year honors since the award’s inception in 1960, including Paul “Bear” Bryant (4 times), Bill Curry (1989), Gene Stallings (2 times) and Mike Shula (2005). Alabama’s nine coach of the year awards are fifth-most all-time among FBS schools.
Saban was named the 2008 Home Depot National Coach of the Year and won several other coach of the year honors, including Football Writers Association/Eddie Robinson Award, Associated Press, Sporting News, Walter Camp and Liberty Mutual. He is a finalist for the 2009 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award again in 2009.
The AFCA will announce its five 2009 National Coach of the Year winners at the 2010 AFCA Convention in Orlando, Fla. All head coaches who were eligible for regional honors are eligible for national honors as well.