Who Was Lou Saban? Trump Confuses Ex-Coach with Alabama Great Nick Saban

President Donald Trump has often proclaimed his love for college football, but he got his coaches confused while voicing support for former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville.

The latter will face former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the chance to win Alabama's Republican Senate nomination on Tuesday.

"[He is a] really successful coach," Trump said of Tuberville on Monday during some last-minute campaigning.

"[He] beat Alabama, like six in a row, but we won't even mention that. As he said [...] because of that, maybe we got 'em [Alabama] Lou Saban. [...] And he's great, Lou Saban, what a great job he's done."

Trump was right as far as the winning streak is concerned. During Tuberville's nine seasons at Auburn, the Tigers won the Iron Bowl on seven occasions, including six consecutive times from 2002 through to 2007.

The streak ended in 2008, when Auburn capped a disappointing 5-7 season with a 36-0 loss against Alabama, leading Tuberville to resign less than a week later.

As Trump pointed out, the end of the Tuberville's reign at Auburn coincided with the beginning of the Saban era in Tuscaloosa.

The Saban in question, however, is Nick and not Lou, as the president suggested.

"He's great, Lou Saban, what a great job he's done."

-- President Trump tonight, in a conference call, confusing Nick Saban with former head coach Lou Saban, who died 11 years ago.

— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 14, 2020

The former took charge of the Crimson Tide after two seasons in the NFL as head coach of the Miami Dolphins and has since led Alabama to five national championships, becoming the first and so far only coach in college football history to take two different Football Bowl Subdivision programs to the national title—Saban had won the BCS National Championship in 2003 during his spell at LSU.

The late Lou Saban, meanwhile, also made his name in coaching over a career that spanned half a century and encompassed college football, the AFL, the NFL and even arena football.

The former linebacker spent three seasons in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns between 1946 and 1949—where he was a four-time conference champion and a two-time All-Pro selection—before beginning his coaching career at Case Tech in 1950.

Over the next decade, the Illinois native moved around to Washington, Northwestern and Western Illinois before making his debut as professional coach in 1960, when he became the first coach of the Boston Patriots—now the New England Patriots—in the AFL.

Fired after five games of his second season in Boston, Saban moved to Buffalo in 1962, winning the AFL title with the Bills in 1964 and 1965—he was named Coach of the Year in both seasons—before returning to college football to coach Maryland for a season.

The Illinois native was back in professional football in 1967, when he began a five-season spell with the Denver Broncos, which was followed by another five seasons with the Bills.

Saban's next spell in college football took him to the University of Miami, Army and University of Central Florida over seven years, before a three-year spell in high school football saw him coach three different programs ahead of his return to college football with Peru State in 1991.

Following a two-year foray in arena football, Saban returned to the college scene in 1995 and coached until 2002, seven years before he died of heart complications in March 2009.

Ironically, the full name of the current Alabama head coach is Nicholas Lou Saban Jr., so perhaps Trump was just showing off his extensive knowledge of college football.

Lou Saban
Lou Saban during his spell as head coach of the Buffalo Bills in 1972. Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty