The Crimson Tide earned its 17th national championship title in a thrilling overtime win in January 2018. Following this historic victory, University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban did what he’s done since 2012 for every championship title: He helped Habitat for Humanity start building a house.
After Saban won his third Alabama national championship, the non-profit Nick’s Kids Foundation that Saban founded in 1998 with his wife, Terry, formed a partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Together, this team has built seventeen Habitat homes for deserving families — one to commemorate each national championship Alabama has won, stretching back to 1925.
Saban, considered by many to be the greatest college coach of all time, joined the University of Alabama in 2007, just four months before a tornado ripped through Tuscaloosa. Wanting to help, the coach built a strong team off the field. Saban brought together architects, engineers and local companies to help rebuild the community – and Nick’s Kids Foundation made a $50,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity.
During Saban’s tenure at U of A, he’s earned enough rings to fill one hand, and built enough homes to fill one block. With his latest project, the luxury of time to design and build was trumped by the desire to get Donna Smith and her family – including her son with spina bifida – into a home quickly. Alabama news station WBRC interviewed Habitat for Humanity’s Ellen Potts not long after the 17th win.
“We chose the (Smith) family on a Thursday,” Potts said. “Friday, we met to choose the floor plan. On Saturday, our construction director did the (Americans with Disability Act) redesign of the house, by Monday, Donna Smith was already a Crimson Tide fan. “From a fan's perspective (the win over Georgia) was awesome” Smith said, “and from this perspective, it's just overwhelming.”
If you don’t watch college football, the name Nick Saban may not mean anything to you. But to countless Alabama fans, it means winner, and to seventeen Alabama families, it means home.