If I were to ask you to rank college football coaches based on their “millennial-ness” — how much they act or are like the stereotypical millennial — you’d probably put Kliff Kingsbury and Lincoln Riley, the two actual millennial head coaches, near the top, and Nick Saban very close to the bottom spot (occupied by Bill Snyder’s thousand-year-old self).
Saban is a curmudgeon who is known for his strong work ethic and complete and utter distaste for popular culture, making him, at least outwardly, appear to be not a millennial at all. However, as you dig deeper, you begin to realize that Saban really is a millennial at heart.
First, millennials like to kill industries. Every week there’s a new headline about how we, the young people of America, have destroyed another long-standing establishment like Applebee’s or department stores or something. Nick Saban, within the college football world, has done this in his time at Alabama.
Scheduling difficult out of conference road games? He killed that by realizing he can just boost Bama’s strength of schedule with tough non-conference games exclusively at neutral sites. Now, there are nearly a dozen neutral site openers on the CFB schedule. Recruiting? He’s killed that by having the top recruiting class every year since 2010 (Urban Meyer’s last year at Florida), forcing everyone else to fight for second place.