2009 Tournament - Saban Takes Time for Nick's Kids

VESTAVIA HILLS | When the car pulled up and Nick Saban got out, he first changed shoes and put on socks that had been in the trunk. Normally the Nick’s Kids Foundation golf tournament is one of the more enjoyable days of the year for he and wife, Terry, but Thursday morning a little extra cushion couldn’t have hurt.

Nevertheless, after briefly talking with reporters about the NCAA Committee of Infractions report on Alabama athletics, which would be released later in the day, he turned his attention to something that’s in many ways more important, the annual fundraiser.

Organizers expected this year’s event at Old Overton Club outside of Birmingham to raise more than $300,000, which would bring the three-year total since Saban arrived to more than $1 million. That includes the $50,000 he was awarded for being named the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year (also  netting a $20,000 grant for UA’s alumni association).

“This is kind of a legacy that my dad started in terms of trying to help young people,” Saban said. “Terry and I feel really good about the fact that after the third year we’ve probably given away more than a million dollars to kids organizations in Alabama and the Southeast. We certainly appreciate and want to thank all the people who support the event and make it possible. 

“I’m just glad to give back to the community on some kind of level.”

The coach considers the tournament to be a tribute to his father, although the fund dates back to when Saban coached at Michigan State (1995-99), and continued during his stops at LSU and with the Miami Dolphins.

Both Saban and former Crimson Tide golfer Jerry Pate, who designed Ol’ Colony and is the co-chairman for First Tee of Alabama, both played a hole with each group. Former Alabama players participating for at least the putting challenge included Bobby Humphrey, Patrick Hape, Antonio Langham, Antonio London, Kevin Turner and Lamonde Russell.

In a strange sort of way, the NCAA penalties sort of fit in with the coaches’ message, which extends beyond the playing fields.

“I think we all have a responsibility and obligation in how we represent the University of Alabama and the state of Alabama, those people who have passion for our program and support our program, and I’m really proud of our players, young people, have done that in terms of where they played on the field and also the way they conducted themselves off the field,” he said in general.

Story courtesy of http://www.tuscaloosanews.com full story can be found here.

By Christopher Walsh Sports Writer

Reach Christopher Walsh at [email protected] or at 205-722-0196.