I faintly remember as a child watching Alabama on television win national titles in late 1970’s with my parents. I did know who the head coach was….Paul “Bear” Bryant. He was like some mystical legend that my father would respectfully speak about when we talked Alabama football. I knew he was important but really didn’t understand Bryant’s role until I started following the Tide a few years later. There’s so many accomplishments but the big one is the 6 national championships that Alabama won under Bryant. I became a Bama fan a year after Bryant’s passing going to my first Iron Bowl game (Alabama vs. Auburn) in 1983. I attended many games in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Saw many victories and many defeats. There was always a common phrase used by fans after the game “it’s not like it was when The Bear coached.” The Tide would have some good years but they never lived up to the standard of Bryant’s championship teams with the exception of the 1992 team. You can read more about them here. To me and many of my generation, Bear Bryant was the best college football coach ever.
Let’s fast forward 30+ years. Nick Saban just won his 5th national title this past Monday night (4 with Alabama, 1 with LSU). He and Bryant are the only two coaches to have this many championships in major college football. My son is a teenager and Alabama fan as well. If you ask him “who’s the best college football coach?”, his answer is Nick Saban. Saban has been the head coach of Alabama for the past 9 years and this is all he knows. He’s seen in person 4 Alabama SEC Championships won by Saban coached teams. To him, Bear Bryant is a photo that I have hanging up on a wall in my man cave and that everyone wears houndstooth because of his hat. It’s not being disrespectful, he just has his own updated version of Bryant and that’s Nick Saban.
Please click the source link below for more information on Saban’s success and “the process” by Greg Couch of The Bleacher Report.