By (Kelly Ward)

Somehow — between the demands of fall camp and football season, the demands of his position, perhaps the most demanding in the state — Nick Saban has time. Time to help, time to work with other coaches in other sports, time to recruit. Somehow, there is time.

When something is important, there is always time.

Helping other sports land top recruits is important to Saban. Even with two-a-day practices. Even in the middle of the season. Even on game days.

He doesn’t dictate when other sports recruit, and he has to recruit during that time as well. There’s always a bit of time in the day.

“So as busy as you are, there’s still always a portion of time that you recruit every day, so it’s not that time-consuming to try to be helpful,” Saban said in an exclusive interview with The Crimson White.

Yes, that means during fall camp. Yes, that means in the middle of the season. Yes, that means right before a game.

This is not about the biggest sport in the country — it’s about Nick Saban, who helps other sports recruit and just so happens to be the head coach of the most successful college football team over the past decade.

How do you get time with the most sought-after coach in the state?

You ask.

That’s what former gymnastics head coach Sarah Patterson did.

She went in saying they’d only take 10 minutes of his time. Ten minutes often turns into 20 when he meets with a recruit.

“He’s always talking to them and engaged with them and their parents, so I think he does an amazing job,” she said.

Before the football team won national titles in 2011 and 2012, gymnastics did it first. Before Patterson won the fifth and sixth titles of her career, equalling a University sports record, she brought in a few top recruits to meet Saban.

“I can tell you that any time I was taking a top recruit — and I took the best of the best, and I was very cognizant of his time and his schedule — but I can tell you coach Saban never said no to me,” Patterson said.

So Patterson brought in recruits, even on Fridays before games when Saban was getting ready to go with the team to the hotel.

Patterson retired in 2014, but with Dana Duckworth at the helm of the program, he still meets with her recruits.

“Our relationship with Coach Saban and his willingness to meet with recruits when we bring them on campus has always been open-armed and welcoming,” she said.

When something is important, there is always time.

It’s the ninth inning and the manager makes the call up to the bullpen. He asks for the pitcher who can finish the game out, secure the win, retire the last three batters. He needs his closer, already warmed up for this situation. This is what he does. It’s 
his specialty.

That’s Nick Saban. The No. 1 recruiter in college football knows what he’s doing. He knows how to close a deal.

The other coaches have put in the legwork. They’re ready to pull the trigger on an offer and get a commitment.

“I think what makes him a closer is not so much that he finishes a deal by saying you should, I think just in his communication, there’s an honesty and there’s an openness and there’s a transparency, and then there’s also a vision of what we’re about and what you can do when you’re here … but there’s a genuineness to him, and I think in the world of recruiting and what we do, it’s always nice to have that,” said men’s golf coach Jay Seawell. “And I think he’s very good at that.”

If anyone knows Saban in the athletic department, it’s Seawell. The two share a love of golf and a friendship beyond 
the game.

“Through my friendship, I’ve recognized how he teaches, and so that’s why I like leaning upon him just because I really enjoy [how] when it gets to the heart of it, he is a great teacher and a great coach,” Seawell said.

He said he wants him around his players and recruits when possible.

“I do think he symbolizes how we do things around here at The University of Alabama,” Seawell said.

When a coach decides to bring a recruit in to meet Saban, the recruit isn’t just anyone. These visits are reserved for the best of the best, but not every top recruit gets to see Saban. It all depends on time, 
Saban’s time.

“When we take someone in to see Coach, it’s someone that is the real deal,” Seawell said. “He or she is someone I believe that as coaches we entrust to change or help our programs, and we’ve probably done a lot of legwork on them, also.”

If he has time for a recruit, a coach will bring them and their parents down to his office. Inside, he greets them and makes them feel comfortable.

There’s no place in recruiting for half-truths and hyperboles, exaggerations if you will. They’re unwelcome, but happen if you aren’t careful.

Saban is careful.

“I think what makes Coach so good is he’s just really open and honest,” Seawell said. “I think of it as a trust factor. You can gain that really quick with him.”

The bottom line with recruiting — beyond the idea of completing a team — is a kid has to decide that this team, this school is the place for his or her talent. The coaches present a picture of what it means to play at The University of Alabama, but in the end, they can only do so much.

The coaches have already sold their program. This decision is now up to 
the recruit.

“I think it’s very important that you convey to the student-athletes, to the prospects, what it’s really going to be like day in and day out because the commitment level at Alabama is very high for everybody in my opinion — for the student-athletes, for the coaches, you know, anybody that commits to The University of Alabama knows the expectations,” said Alabama women’s …read more

Source:: The Crimson White Sports