Dec. 28, 2008
NEW HAVEN, CT - Nick Saban, head coach of the Sugar Bowl-bound Alabama Crimson Tide, has been named the Walter Camp 2008 Coach of the Year. The Walter Camp Coach of the Year recipient is selected by the nation's 119 Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors.
Saban is the second Alabama coach to earn the honor joining Gene Stallings, who won in 1992. Saban is also the first coach from the Southeastern Conference since 2004 (Tommy Tuberville, Auburn) to receive the award.
Alabama won its first 12 games of the 2008 season, including road wins over No. 9 Clemson, No. 3 Georgia and No. 15 LSU. The Crimson Tide posted a 7-6 record last season, which ended with a 30-24 win over Colorado in the Independence Bowl. The five-game improvement is the best by a second-year coach in school history.
Following a victory over Arkansas State in week 10, Alabama was voted #1 in every national poll. It was the first time since 1980 that Alabama held the top spot during the regular season. The Tide took their No. 1 ranking into Baton Rouge, La. and came out with a 27-21 overtime victory over LSU.
With the win, Alabama clinched its first SEC Western Division Championship since 1999 and guaranteed the team a trip to the 2008 SEC championship game. The Tide finished the regular season by defeating in-state rival Auburn, 36-0, the largest victory in the series since 1962. It was also Alabama's first victory over Auburn since 2001. In the SEC Championship Game, Alabama suffered its first defeat, a 31-20 loss to Florida.
For its efforts, Alabama (12-1) was invited to the 2009 Allstate Sugar Bowl to play Mountain West-champion Utah. Three Crimson Tide players - junior offensive linemen Andre Smith (1st Team), junior defensive lineman Terrence Cody (2nd Team) and senior defensive back Rashad Johnson (2nd Team) - were recently recognized as 2008 Walter Camp All-Americans.
In addition to the Walter Camp honor, Saban has been recognized by the SEC, The Sporting News, and Home Depot as their "Coach of the Year" this season. He is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award and the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award.
Saban came to Alabama in January 2007 after serving two seasons as head coach of the NFL's Miami Dolphins. Before that, Saban served as a collegiate head coach for 11 seasons at three different schools - Toledo (1 year, 9-2), Michigan State (5 years, 34-24-1) and Louisiana State (5 years, 48-16, 2003 national championship). Saban's overall record as a collegiate head coach is 110-49-1 (.656 pct).
A native of Fairmont, West Virginia, Saban is a 1973 graduate of Kent State University. Saban and his wife, Terry, have two children.
Saban, along with major award winners - 2008 Player of the Year Colt McCoy (Texas) and former NFL stars Tim Brown, Morten Andersen and Len Dawson - and members of the Walter Camp All-America team will be honored at the organization's national awards banquet on Saturday, January 17, at the Yale University Commons in New Haven.
In addition, the Foundation will hold its annual Fan Fest on Friday, January 16, at the New Haven Athletic Center from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dinner ($275.00) and Fan Fest tickets ($10.00) can be purchased by calling (203) 288-CAMP.
Walter Camp Coach of the Year recipients
2008 - Nick Saban, Alabama
2007 - Mark Mangino, Kansas
2006 - Greg Schiano, Rutgers
2005 - Joe Paterno, Penn State
2004 - Tommy Tuberville, Auburn
2003 - Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
2002 - Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
2001 - Ralph Friedgen, Maryland
2000 - Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
1999 - Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
1998 - Bill Synder, Kansas State
1997 - Lloyd Carr, Michigan
1996 - Bruce Synder, Arizona State
1995 - Gary Barnett, Northwestern
1994 - Joe Paterno, Penn State
1993 - Terry Bowden, Auburn
1992 - Gene Stallings, Alabama
1991 - Bobby Bowden, Florida State
1990 - Bobby Ross, Georgia Tech
1989 - Bill McCartney, Colorado
1988 - Don Nehlen, West Virginia
1987 - Dick MacPherson, Syracuse
1986 - Jimmy Johnson, Miami
1985 - Fisher DeBerry, Air Force
1984 - Joe Morrisson, South Carolina
1983 - Mike White, Illinois
1982 - Jerry Stovall, Louisiana State
1981 - Jackie Sherrill, Pittsburgh
1980 - Vince Dooley, Georgia
1979 - John Mackovic, Wake Forest
1978 - Warren Powers, Missouri
1977 - Lou Holtz, Arkansas
1976 - Frank R. Burns, Rutgers
1975 - Frank Kush, Arizona State
1974 - Barry Switzer, Oklahoma
1973 - Johnny Majors, Pittsburgh
1972 - Joe Paterno, Penn State
1971 - Bob Devaney, Nebraska
1970 - Bob Blackman, Dartmouth
1969 - Bo Schembechler, Michigan
1968 - Woody Hayes, Ohio State
1967 - John Pont, Indiana