TUSCALOOSA, AL (WSFA) - Alabama head football coach Nick Saban is good at winning football games. Very good, actually. His face is everywhere in the college football world.
But there’s a world far removed from Saban’s typical Saturday afternoons of domination. It’s a bloodsport, none-the-less, but you don’t often hear his name there or see his face - until now.
Nick Saban has entered the political arena and on Wednesday the advertisements started rolling out on televisions across West Virginia featuring the Crimson Tide head coach, among others, touting U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin for re-election.
Manchin, a Democrat, is fighting for his political life in a once solidly Democratic state that went for Republican Donald Trump by more than 40 points in the 2016 election.
But before you think Saban’s toe in the water of politics could end with a full on swim in other races, perhaps in Alabama, it would be wise to take a deep breath (with your head above the water).
West Virginia is Saban’s home state and Joe Manchin is Saban’s childhood friend.
“He never forgets where he came from,” Saban says in the ad’s opening line. “I don’t have a better friend or know a better person than Joe Manchin.”
The political spot isn’t meant for consumption in Alabama where a local endorsement by the coach could potentially cause friction with his fanbase.
The ad makes no mention of Saban’s association with the University of Alabama, showing only his name, birth year and home city. Further, Saban doesn’t sneak in any crimson and white, opting instead for a green shirt. And you don’t even get to see the glitzy trophies in the background of his segment.