Nick Saban Sr: The Man Behind The Football Legend


Nick Saban Sr. is a name that every football fan is familiar with. He is the father of the legendary football coach, Nick Saban Jr. Nick Saban Sr. has been a football coach himself and has made significant contributions to the sport. This article will take a closer look at the life and career of Nick Saban Sr.

Early Life

Nick Saban Sr. was born on October 21, 1930, in Fairmont, West Virginia. He was the son of Croatian immigrants and grew up in a humble household. His love for football started at an early age, and he played as a quarterback in high school.


After high school, Nick Saban Sr. attended Kent State University, where he continued to play football. He was a standout player and was named the team’s most valuable player in 1951. However, he had to leave college before graduating due to financial constraints.

Coaching Career

Nick Saban Sr. started his coaching career in 1953 as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Fairmont State University. He then moved on to become the head coach at the University of Virginia’s freshman team. In 1960, he became the head coach of the Wheeling Ironmen, a professional football team.

Cleveland Browns

Nick Saban Sr. joined the Cleveland Browns in 1961 as a defensive backfield coach. He was part of the team that won the NFL championship in 1964. He also coached with the Baltimore Colts and Houston Oilers.


Nick Saban Sr. had a lasting impact on the sport of football. He coached numerous players who went on to have successful careers in the NFL. He also influenced his son, Nick Saban Jr., who has become one of the most successful football coaches in history.


Nick Saban Sr. retired from coaching in 1988 but continued to be involved in the sport. He was a regular at his son’s games and was often seen on the sidelines.

Personal Life

Nick Saban Sr. married his high school sweetheart, Mary, in 1952. They had two children, Nick Saban Jr. and Dianna. Mary passed away in 2014, and Nick Saban Sr. passed away in 2020 at the age of 90.


Nick Saban Sr. was also known for his philanthropic work. He was involved in numerous charitable organizations and was a supporter of the Boys and Girls Club of America.


Nick Saban Sr. may not be as well-known as his son, but he made significant contributions to the sport of football. He was a successful coach and influenced the career of his son, who has become a legend in the sport. Nick Saban Sr.’s legacy will continue to live on, and he will be remembered as a true football pioneer.