BATON ROUGE - Nick Saban, head coach at Michigan State University for the last five years, has been named the head coach of the LSU Tigers, it was announced Tuesday.
Saban, who becomes the 31st head coach in the history of LSU football, has been credited with engineering a resurgence of the Michigan State football program. He has has taken the Spartans to a ranking of No.10 in the nation this year and a second place finish in the Big Ten this season, while defeating Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State all in the same year for the first time since 1965.
Saban will be given a five-year rollover contract with a base salary of $250,000, and will be paid an additional $550,000 for radio, television and Internet appearances, plus additional supplemental pay that will bring his total yearly package to $1.2 million per year.
This year's Michigan State team, which finished the regular season with a record of 9-2, is the first nine-win Spartan team since 1966 and MSU recorded six wins in East Lansing this year for the first time since the 1912 season. Michigan State boasts one of the sturdiest defensive units in the nation, ranking No. 1 in the Big Ten in rushing defense (77.0 yards per game) and total defense (299.0 yards per game), while ranking No. 5 nationally in rushing defense and No. 11 in the nation in total defense. Offensively, the Spartans are averaging over 30 points per game (31.0) in the rugged Big Ten Conference.
Michigan State has secured a berth in the 2000 Citrus Bowl against a team to be determined from the Southeastern Conference.
Saban comes to LSU with a career won-loss record of 43-26-1 for a winning percentage of .621, a total that includes five years as head coach at Michigan State (1995-99) and one season as head coach at Toledo (1990). He also has extensive experience in the NFL, having coached the secondary of the Houston Oilers for two seasons (1988-89) and having served as defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns for four seasons (1991-94).
Saban's success at Michigan State was immediate. He became the first coach in school history to put the Spartans in postseason bowl games in each of his first three seasons, taking Michigan State to the 1995 Independence Bowl, 1996 Sun Bowl and 1997 Aloha Bowl.
During his five-year tenure as head coach at Michigan State, Saban has tutored four first-team All-Americans and 10 NFL draft picks, not counting any honorees or NFL picks that will come off of his 1999 squad.
The keys to Saban's success are founded on aggressive, disciplined leadership and a no-nonsense philosophy on both the football field and in the classroom. The 48-year-old Saban arrived at Michigan State following four seasons as the Cleveland Browns' defensive coordinator from 1991-94. The Browns went from allowing the most points in the NFL prior to Saban's arrival to allowing the fewest points in '94. His defensive unit allowed a league-low 21 touchdowns and 204 points in '94 -- the sixth-fewest points surrendered in NFL history.
Saban previously served as head coach at the University of Toledo where he guided the Rockets to a 9-2 record overall in 1990, including a share of the Mid-American Conference title at 7-1. The Rockets ranked among the NCAA leaders in both total defense (12th at 284.8 yards) and scoring defense (16th at 16.2 points). In his rookie season as a head coach, Toledo missed posting an undefeated record by only five points.
He began his first stint in the NFL with the Houston Oilers as the secondary coach from 1988-89. The Oilers ranked among the AFC leaders in interceptions in both '88 (tied for second with 22) and '89 (fourth with 21).
As secondary coach and defensive coordinator, Saban played an integral part in helping Michigan State to three postseason bowl appearances from 1983-87, including the Big Ten championship in '87 and a 20-17 triumph over Southern California in the '88 Rose Bowl. The Spartans led the nation in rushing defense in '87, allowing only 61.2 yards per game, and ranked second in scoring defense, permitting 12.4 points.
His college coaching credits also include stops at the U.S. Naval Academy (1982), Ohio State (1980-81), West Virginia (1978- 79), Syracuse (1977) and Kent State (1975-76). While coaching the secondary at Ohio State, he helped produce four NFL draft choices.
He began his coaching career in 1973 as a graduate assistant at his alma mater Kent State. A defensive back for the Golden Flashes from 1970-72, Saban played in the '72 Tangerine Bowl against Tampa. He also picked up two letters as a shortstop on the Kent State baseball team.
Born October 31, 1951 in Fairmont, W.Va., Saban earned his bachelor's degree in business from Kent State in '73 and his master's in sports administration in '75. He is an avid golfer.
He and his wife, the former Terry Constable of Fairmont, W.Va., have two children, Nicholas (12) and Kristen (8). Terry has been active in the local community and plays an active role in the football program. Her volunteer activities include work with the Safe Place Program, a program for battered and abused women.
The Nick Saban File
Born Nick Lou Saban in Fairmont, W.Va., on Oct. 31, 1951; married former Terry Constable of Fairmont, W.Va., on Dec. 18, 1971; two children, Nicholas (12) and Kristen (8).
PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE 1973-74 Graduate Asst. Coach, Kent State 1975-76 Linebackers Coach, Kent State 1977 Outside LBers Coach, Syracuse 1978-79 Secondary Coach, West Virginia 1980-81 Secondary Coach, Ohio State 1982 Secondary Coach, U.S. Naval Academy 1983-87 Secondary Coach/Def. Coordinator, Michigan State 1988-89 Secondary Coach, Houston Oilers 1990 Head Coach, Toledo 1991-94 Defensive Coordinator, Cleveland Browns 1995-99 Head Coach, Michigan State 2000- Head Coach, LSU (Nov. 30, 1999)
COACHING RECORD 43-26-1(.621) in six years as a college head coach; 9-2 (.818) in one season at Toledo (1990); 34-24-1 (.584) in five seasons at Michigan State (1995-99). EDUCATION Graduated from Monongah (W. Va.) High School in 1969; bachelor's degree in business from Kent State in 1973; master's degree in sports administration from Kent State in 1975.
PLAYING EXPERIENCE High School -- All-state baseball, football and basketball player at Monongah (W. Va.) High School (1965-69). College -- Three-year letterman as a defensive back at Kent State (1970-72); two-year letterman as a shortstop at Kent State (1971-72).