Two of the past three years, and coinciding with a BCS championship, Alabama’s Nick Saban has been lauded with an award honoring one of the game’s greatest coaches.
Coming off a third BCS title with the Tide, Saban has added yet another piece of that particular hardware.
The Birmingham Touchdown Club Wednesday named Saban as the recipient of this year’s Bobby Bowden National Collegiate Coach of the Year award. Named in honor of the former Florida State coaching great, the award has been handed out annually since 2009, with Saban claiming three of the four trophies.
In accepting the award, Saban was effusive in his praise for Bowden.
“This is a very special honor to me because it has Coach Bowden’s name on it,” Saban said in a statement. “”Everyone knows about his accomplishments as a coach on the field and we may not see that again in college football in terms of the success he had at one place for such a long period of time.
“More than anything else, receiving the Bobby Bowden Coach of the Year Award means a lot to me personally because of the man that he is, the person that he is, and the number of people he positively impacted and continues to positively influence today. He has always done it with such class and dignity in every way. As a coach, you hope maybe someday to be thought of in the way Coach Bowden is, not only in terms of what he accomplished, but the way he did it.”
In addition to Saban, the other finalists for this year’s Bowden award were Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin and Kansas State’s Bill Snyder. Kelly and Penn State’s Bill O’Brien had taken home the lion’s share of major coaching awards for the 2012 season.
The only other coach to claim the Bowden award was Auburn’s Gene Chizik for the 2010 season, meaning this particular honor has yet to leave the state of Alabama.