|Butch Dill / Associated Press|
|Nick Saban denied interest in the Texas coaching job last month, insisting he is "totally committed" to Alabama.|
From reports of high-level Texas boosters putting out backchannel feelers for Nick Saban's interest in succeeding coach Mack Brown, to ill-founded rumors of Saban's wife, Terry, house-hunting in the Lone Star State, the Saban-to-Texas narrative seems to have a life of its own, regardless of how many times Saban himself insists he plans to retire when he leaves Alabama.
By now, the rumor needs humor.
That's exactly what happened Monday, when an airport employee at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport was asked by a prankster to page Nick Saban over the intercom. Firestorm, commence:
At #atx airport. Over intercom, just heard Nick Saban paged to meet his car at curb side check in. Hmmm...â Matthew Brownfield (@mbrownfield) December 10, 2013
The airport is calling for a "Nick Saban" right now..... Wondering if he's here to visit Texas? ??â Reed Mitteness (@ReedMitteness) December 10, 2013
Multiple people have confirmed that Nick Saban was paged at the Austin airport this morning. THAT is hysterical.â Geoff Ketchum (@gkketch) December 10, 2013
First, this has to be just about the only prank of any significance ever pulled at an airport that actually had a funny ending. One can only assume that so many others end up with the jokester explaining himself to a half dozen TSA agents, beads of sweat pouring off the brow in an office the size of a broom closet. So on the "prank at the airport" scale, this has to rank up there pretty high.
Secondly, how do we know Saban wasn't actually there? Well, for one thing, he was apparently spotted earlier in Glenville, Ohio, making the recruiting rounds:
Just seen nick saban in the school houseâ Trust None (@Shonie_jetzz) December 10, 2013
By coincidence, reports surfaced Tuesday that Mack Brown is set to resign as head coach of Texas, perhaps adding fuel to the Saban-to-Texas rumors. But Saban has always squashed those rumors, from El Paso to Houston, with the same refrain: He's too old to relaunch his systematic approach to winning football games anywhere else.
But hey, if the rumor insists on hanging around, it at least owes us all some entertainment.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.