By Ken Roberts
Tuscaloosa News City Editor
The Nick Saban media blitz kicks into high gear this week.
ESPN The Magazine features the University of Alabama football coach on the cover of its 2018 college preview issue, which goes on sale Friday, and ESPN2 and Fox Sports are set to air documentaries that focus on Saban.
• In “More Than a Scowl,” ESPN The Magazine shares 14 vignettes that demonstrate Saban’s humor, his softer side and his obsession with success. The magazine also examines “The Saban Effect,” how his coaching blueprint has left an imprint on the entire sport.
• At 6 p.m. Thursday, ESPN2 will debut the first episode of “Training Days: Rolling with the Tide.” The weekly four-part series will provide a behind-the scenes look at Alabama football.
“Alabama football is one of the premier programs in all of sports,” said Lee Fitting, ESPN’s vice president of production. “The intrigue behind their championship-filled decade and the fans’ appetite for unique access continues to escalate. This series will provide a unique perspective of the Crimson Tide as they build upon a foundation for what they hope is another championship campaign.”
The series will include all-access footage of Saban at practice and in coaches’ meetings, interviews with players about their lives on and off the field, a tour of the program’s state-of-the-art facilities and a look at the Crimson Tide’s die-hard fans.
The hour-long episodes will continue on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. on Aug. 15 and Aug. 22, with the final episode set for 9 p.m. Aug. 29. All episodes will be extensively re-aired on ESPN’s other networks throughout the month.
• Fox Sports “Power of Sports,” which focuses on how sports is driving social change, will feature a one-on-one interview with Saban discussing his various philanthropic initiatives, including working with his wife, Terry, as part of Nick’s Kids Foundation.
Since the Sabans arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007, the foundation has given about $8 million to more than 300 charities and organizations that benefit children.
At an Aug. 2 luncheon where more than $500,000 was distributed to local charities, Saban said he was inspired to lead the foundation based on his father’s principles and values.
“As you all know, this is all about my dad and the legacy of what he tried to do. Hopefully he’ll be proud of what we’re doing here today,” Saban said.
The episode will debut at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 13 on Fox Sports Southeast and air at various times throughout the month.