One might ask, “What took so long?” but as Alabama Coach Nick Saban has become eligible, he is an immediate inductee into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. The induction of this year’s class will take place on May 18, 2013, at the Birmingham Sheraton.
Former Crimson Tide defensive back and longtime Bama Assistant Coach Bill Oliver was also selected.
The late Bill Jones, who was head basketball coach and athletics director at the University of North Alabama, is a new inductee. He is the father of former Tide basketball player Rex Jones and the grandfather of current Bama players Barrett and Harrison Jones.
Saban, of course, is still active in his craft, currently recruiting and planning for his third national championship game in the past four years. Born October 31, 1951, in Fairmont, West Virginia, he has won two BCS National Championships at Alabama (2009 and 2011) and his Bama team will meet Notre Dame in Miami Gardens on January 7 for the 2012 crown. He also won a BCS Championship as head coach at LSU in 2003.
He is the first coach in college football history to win a national championship with two different football bowl subdivision schools.
He and former Tide Coach Paul Bryant are the only coaches to win a Southeastern Conference championship at two different schools. Bryant was an inaugural inductee into the ASHOF.
Saban has had head coaching stints on the college level at Toledo, Michigan State, LSU, and now at Alabama. He also coached the Miami Dolphins in the NFL. He has won numerous national coach of the year awards including A.P. National Coach of Year twice (2003 and 2008); Paul “Bear” Bryant Award (2003); and SEC Coach of Year three times (2003, 2008, and 2009).
Oliver, born November 1, 1939 in Epes, was a member of Bryant’s first national championship team in 1961. He spent more than 30 years in the coaching profession; and was a renowned defensive coach. He was a member of Coach Bryant’s staff that won three National Championships (1973, 1978, and 1979) and one as defensive coordinator on Coach Gene Stallings staff in 1992.
He was Head Coach at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga from 1980-1983 where he had a record of 29-14-1. He was interim Head Coach at Auburn University in 1998. He was defensive coordinator for the Memphis Showboats (USFL) in 1983 and 1984.
Jones, who died in 2008, played at North Alabama (then Florence State). He became head coach at his alma mater in 1974 and posted a 259-141 record, which included the 1979 NCAA Division II National Championship. His was the first basketball team from the state of Alabama to win a national championship. He stepped down as coach in 1988 to become the school’s first full-time director of athletics.
Others selected in the class are former Auburn football players Ronnie Baynes and Forrest Blue, former Jacksonville State football player Eric Davis, former Auburn basketball star Vickie Orr, and former Alabama A&M track star Danette Young Stone.
The new inductees bring the total since 1969 to 313.