If the timing feels routine, it’s because it is. The day that Nick Saban describes as his favorite day of the year — the day of the annual Nick’s Kids luncheon — always falls the day before the opening of the University of Alabama football team’s fall camp.
So it was again Wednesday afternoon in the North Zone inside Bryant-Denny Stadium, Saban’s altruistic day, when the Sabans distributed funds from the charity to more than 150 local children’s organizations. This year more than $500,000 was given to organizations, bringing the total to more than $7 million since UA head coach Nick and wife Terry Saban came to Tuscaloosa in 2007.
“It means a lot to me,” Saban said. “We’ve always tried to look for ways to give back. It’s an example that we want to set for the community as well as our players in terms of someone that is in a position where people have a chance to look up to and maybe respect some of the things you do. It’s like my dad always said, ‘No man stands as tall as when he stoops to help a child.’ I think what we’ve been able to do here, I hope has had some significance in helping some young people, whether it improves their quality of life or improve their opportunity in life.”
A few of Saban’s players attended, signing autographs for attendees, many of whom were children happily bouncing around after collecting signatures. Bradley Bozeman, Rashaan Evans, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Shaun Dion Hamilton, JC Hassenauer, Hale Hentges, Jalen Hurts, Jamar King, Ross Pierschbacher and Levi Wallace sat at a table and made a few hundred children’s day.
Earlier in the day, former legendary Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian passed away. Saban commented on the occasion.
“I met him several times,” Saban said. “I had a lot of respect for him. Of course when you coach at Michigan State for 10 years, the Notre Dame-Michigan State rivalry was huge. The (1966) game, which everybody remembers as maybe the game of the century, Ara was involved in that. There was a unique sort of relationship between Notre Dame and Michigan State. It wasn’t a rivalry that was built out of hatred or anything like that. It was sort of out of mutual respect. So I think that everybody at Michigan State that had the opportunity to meet Ara through the years really had a tremendous amount of respect for him, not only in the terms of what he accomplished as a coach, but also the kind of person he was.”