Saban statue may be delayed
Posted: Thursday, July 1, 2010 6:09 am
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — A statue of Alabama football coach Nick Saban might not be ready in time for the Sept. 4 season opener against San Jose State.
Thad Turnipseed, the Crimson Tide’s director of athletic facilities, said the unveiling might have to wait until midseason in order to get it just right. The statue will honor Saban for the program’s latest national title.
“We’re about 65 percent there,” Turnipseed said. “Nobody’s rushing it. Basically it’s ‘stay tuned.’ Hopefully we can do it before the season starts, but we can’t push it.”
A memo presented to the board of trustees in June proposed that the statue be unveiled between Aug. 13 and Aug. 20.
The four previous Tide coaches to win national titles all have statues in the plaza area outside the stadium: Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas, Paul W. “Bear” Bryant and Gene Stallings. The same Oklahoma-based company, MTM Recognition, that did the first four is producing the Saban monument.
Turnipseed said the first two submissions — 3D photos of a clay model of the Saban statue — were rejected partly because the face and hair weren’t right. Saban, wife Terry, and Alabama athletic director Mal Moore will soon be presented with a third version.
“I don’t see this third time being 100 percent right,” Turnipseed said. “So they’ll go back and change it again. So now if you’re into the first of August before you’ve got anything you like, it still has to be cast. It takes four weeks to be cast. That’s why I don’t like the Aug. 20 date.
“I might be shocked. We could get it back and everybody loves it, we cast it and it’s all here.”
Turnipseed said he’s the picky one, not the Sabans.
“Mal, Nick and Terry are making the call,” he said. “I don’t want people to think Nick, Terry and Mal have been picky. I’m the one that’s controlling the schedule based on getting it right.
“They’re saying, ’Thad, don’t rush. Just get it right.’ There’s no timetable in our mind. There never has been.”
Published in The Messenger 6.30.10