03.29.09

Lou Saban, Dead At 87

Posted in Gridiron at 5:29 pm by

Lou Saban, a head coach in the NFL, AFL and NCAA for more than 40 years (as well as a former New York Yankees club president) passed away earlier today in South Carolina at the age of 87.  From the Buffalo News’ Mark Gaughan :

Saban (above, seated) had two successful stints as Bills head coach. The first came from 1962 to 1965. He built the Bills in to a powerhouse, and directed the AFL title teams in 1964 and 1965. He left the Bills after that second crown to coach at the University of Maryland. But he returned in 1972 and helped catapult O.J. Simpson to NFL stardom.

Simpson became the focal point of the Bills’ offense once Saban arrived, and in 1973, he set the NFL single-season rushing record with 2,003 yards. Saban directed the Bills to the playoffs in 1974. He resigned during the 1976 season.

Saban alienated Bills Owner Ralph Wilson Jr. by quitting twice and he has never been added to the team’s Wall of Fame.

He finished with a record of 68 wins, 45 losses and four ties, according to the Pro-Football-Reference Web site.

Saban cited heart problems in quitting his most recent coaching job, at tiny Chowan University in Murfreesboro, N.C., in 2002 at the age of 81.

But four years later, he told a Buffalo News sports columnist that he would be interested in coaching again.

“If I coach again, fine. It not, who cares? I can’t force anything. When I mention my age, they say I’m too old. I can’t battle it. I can’t in any way cover up my age. I’d like to test myself again. That sounds selfish, but I’ve proven myself, and I’m alive. There’s nothing the matter with my brain,” Saban said in the 2006 interview.

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