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Nick Saban of top-ranked Alabama makes Sunday church his priority

The top-ranked team in college football, the University of Alabama, will play No. 4 Notre Dame in the college football playoff semifinals on January 1. Both teams will feature Catholics living out their faith.

Coach Nick Saban led Alabama to victory over Florida in the SEC championship game two Saturdays ago. With the playoff selection show set to air on television at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning, Laura Rutledge of the SEC Network asked him if he had any plans to watch it. Saban replied with an answer that surprised Rutledge and perhaps many others in the audience.

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“I go to church from 11 to 12, so they’re going to have to either schedule it at a different time or I’m going to find out when I get out of church,” he said

Saban, who has won five national championships at Alabama, is Catholic. He discussed his faith during a 2016 interview with EWTN, a Catholic television network. Asked by EWTN in 2016 if his Catholic faith plays into his success as a coach, he answered, “I don’t think there’s any question about the fact that character and moral development are all a part of leadership. Look at it as, we always say, ‘God have mercy,’ but that mercy is not a well. It’s not a cistern. It’s a channel that should run through us to other people. That’s part of what we try to do for our players, so they have a chance to be more successful in life.”

In 2016, a Catholic student center named after Saban opened in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the university’s home. The Saban Catholic Student Center is part of the St. Francis of Assisi University Parish in Tuscaloosa.

“We’ve tried to raise money for it, as well as making a significant contribution,” Saban said. “My wife, Terry, is very involved in it. We have a lot of Catholic participation by our students here. We felt it would be great for them to have a place where they can go socialize and develop the kind of relationships that might be helpful to them and their faith development.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice