TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- For University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Monday’s pay raise and two-year extension approved by the Board of Trustees compensation committee was not primarily about the money. It was a sign of his commitment to the Crimson Tide program.
“From my standpoint, the acceptance of this extension represents our commitment, my commitment, our family's commitment to the University of Alabama for the rest of our career," Saban said. "We made that decision after the season when other people were interested."
Now entering his sixth year as head coach at UA, Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa with the reputation as a nomad. It was his fourth head-coaching position in the last decade, and he was coming off just a two-year stint in the NFL.
That mindset has changed. After winning his second national championship in the last three years, Saban has returned in 2012 to go after another title and now has a contract that could keep him at Alabama through the 2019-2020 season.
“We're staying at Alabama and we're not interested in going anyplace else,” he said. “We weren't interested in going anyplace else at the end of the season, so it doesn't really matter.”
With the success of the Crimson Tide program in recent years, the assistant coaches at UA have become a hot commodity in the coaching business, and the UA Board of Trustees also rewarded many of their efforts with a pay raise on Monday.
“I think there's a very competitive market out there when it comes to assistant coaches,” Saban said. “I think it's imperative that we keep continuity and that we had the opportunity to be competitive salary-wise with other schools who are trying to hire our coaches.
“It doesn't really matter what my opinion is or anyone else's opinion. The market is what it is, and if we're not willing to pay that to the best people that we have, they're not going to be here.”
Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who’s name has come up in multiple coaching searches over the years, received a $100,000 pay raise, bumping his salary to $950,000. He is now the highest paid assistant coach in college football.
New offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier was given a three-year contract worth $590,000 the first year. Nussmeier came over from Washington to replace Jim McElwain, who left to be become the head coach at Colorado State.
Jeff Stoutland, who found himself embroiled in the booster scandal at the University of Miami early last summer, was the only assistant to not receive a raise. When Saban was asked, he said Alabama could not be blind to what happened in South Florida.
"As a university, we make decisions to do things because we think it's the right thing to do," Saban said of the situation. "In the future, I think Jeff Stoutland deserves to get a raise based on the merit of the work that he's done here, but I also think that it wouldn't be smart on our part of ignore other things that have happened.
"So it is what it is."
Saban was not pleased with his team's effort on Monday. After practice had ended, Saban spoke with the media about what he viewed as a case of the "poor me's."
“Some guys had the poor me’s today," Saban said. "I think you get that at some point in the spring. I think it’s something that good teams have to persevere and get through. I told the players after practice I’d call Michigan to ask them if they were going to take days off when they get tired, or if they are going to try to work through it. If they are going to do it, they choose to do it, then I’ll do it. But we’re going to keep on keeping on. We’re going to put pads on Wednesday and try to get beter. I think that’s the way we need to do it."
Wide receiver DeAndrew White tweaked his hamstring and could be out for a few practices, according to Saban. Running back Blake Sims was once again wearing a black no-contact jersey on Monday. He sustained a hip injury over spring break while playing basketball. Eddie Lacy and Arie Kouandjio, who are both expected to miss all of the spring, did not practice.