On Tuesday, November 30 Nick Saban re-affirmed the nagging fear that every Spartan fan has in the back of their mind.
“At Michigan State we were never No. 1…That was always Michigan. It was always U-M this or that.”
For as much as Wolverines take great glee in reminding Spartans of their inherent inferiority it’s a different matter when it comes from the former Spartan Head Football Coach.
Nick Saban not only left the Spartans, stabbing them in the back at the end of their best season since 1965, but took a verbal swipe at the institution on the way out.
The message is clear. MSU is second rate school only worthy as a stepping stone to real job elsewhere. Much is made of the salary increase at LSU.
Saban has said that he needed to listen to offers “…for the good of his family…”
Well, last I checked Saban was making $700K at MSU, he was already taking care of his family pretty well. When an athlete makes a decision to sign a contract it’s one thing. An athlete may only get a or two chances to sign a big contract since their careers are relatively short. But a coach? Saban is only 48 years old. He can conceivably coach for another 25 years. 25 years times $700K= $17.5 million.
MSU had just rewarded basketball coach Tom Izzo with a new million dollar contract. It was possible that if Saban replicated his success again next year he could have been rewarded with a lucrative contract as well. So what happened? Nick Saban obviously got tired of being in the shadow of the University of Michigan. It’s one thing to be second in the Big Ten but another thing to be second in your state. Rather than dig in for the long haul and make a commitment to building up the Spartan program to be consistently on par with UM he bailed out.
Believe it or not there was a time in the State of Michigan when MSU was the dominant football power. The 1960’s (the dark days) were owned by the Spartans.
It took Bo Schembechler’s great career to move the State of Michigan firmly into the grasp of UM. Spartans may have hoped that Saban would be such a figure to restore MSU glory.
But he left. It’s one thing to leave a job but it’s another thing to show disrespect to the university that has treated you well. Saban also disappointed his team and recruits that he brought to MSU. They made a commitment to Nick Saban. Unfortunately, his commitment to them was for sale to highest bidder.