Nick Saban relishes a return to normal. The coach of the Crimson Tide football team is glad players are coming back to camp, back on campus doing normal workouts.
Thursday, Saban was off campus but back on familiar grounds as he welcomed participants in the 15th Nick’s Kids Golf Tournament. The annual fundraiser returned to normal operations after a year where it, like so many things, were at least scaled back because of COVID-19.
“We’re excited to be able to get back to normal with a lot of things,” the coach said on the front lawn of Old Overton Golf Club. “Anything that we do that gets us back to normal makes me really, really happy. This is an event that we always look forward to and really missed being able to do last year so it’s great to be back here.”
One feature of the tournament is a pair of contests on the 17th hole. Golfers take their chance at putting their tee shot closer to the hole than the Tide head coach. Additionally, a hole in one nets a golfer a new Mercedes-Benz.
Taking on the first set of golfers, Saban was not only closest to the pin. He nearly put the ball in the hole.
Asked if he would have claimed the car with a hole in one, the seven-time national championship coach said yes. Saban, who co-owns several Mercedes dealerships as a partner in Dream Motor Group, said he formerly rooted against someone acing the hole. He has since rethought the situation.
“We pay insurance on the car” possibly being won, Saban said. “We pay it no matter what so you might as well have somebody win it.”
The Nick’s Kids Foundation is the official charity of Nick and Terry Saban and their family. The nonprofit is dedicated to raising awareness and resources for deserving organizations throughout Alabama and the Southeast.
The couple invest their time and energy hosting luncheons, golf tournaments, scrimmages and other events to benefit the foundation. It culminates in the Annual Fall Giveaway, when proceeds are given in support of children, family, teacher and student causes.
“This is something that we look forward to every year,” Saban said. “Miss Terry’s done a great job sort of orchestrating help for a lot of young people to have a better opportunity to be successful in building 18 houses for needy families with Habitat. It’s something we really have been committed to.”
The 18th house is under construction. When this year is done, more than $10 million will have been raised since the couple arrived at the University of Alabama, the coach said.
“The legacy of this Nick’s Kids thing is all about my dad,” Saban said. “I’ve told this before many, many times, that he drove a school bus and picked up kids and let them participate in athletic events to have a better chance to go to college and get an education, which a lot did. This is kind of an extension of his legacy that we’re happy to be able to promote.”
Notable Nick’s Kids projects include:
- 18 for 18 Home Building Project with Habitat for Humanity
- Nick’s Kids has sponsored the building of 18 homes in honor of the 18 national championships that Alabama football has won, with the most recent breaking ground last month.
- The Saban Center
- A project that will combine the Children’s Hands-On Museum, the Tuscaloosa Public Library and the Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre into a single location. Nick’s Kids is making a $250,000 contribution along with a personal pledge from Nick and Terry Saban of $1 million to this initiative, which will combine STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs and the arts to provide a unique and interactive learning experience for children in Tuscaloosa.
- Park and Recreational Authority of Tuscaloosa County all-inclusive playground
- Leadership gift of $200,000 toward the 2.5-acre playground in Tuscaloosa that accommodates all children, including those with special needs.
- Major contributors to the Welding & Multi-Purpose Classroom Facility at the Tuscaloosa Juvenile Detention Center that was completed in summer 2019
- Annual Teacher’s Excellence Awards Luncheon
- Honored over 300 City of Tuscaloosa and Tuscaloosa County teachers since 2012 for their dedication to educating children.