Prior to the season, Saban came to Kingston to speak to one of the service groups. The luncheon meetingtook place at what was once a restaurant and banquet facility on Route 28, just across from Potter Bros., where a motel and pizza parlor now stand.
Saban was here to drum up interest in the Army program and hopefully sell a few tickets to the games at West Point. I was the Freeman's sports editor in those days, so I assigned myself to the event and dutifully recorded his comments for a Sunday column.
After the speech, I walked out to the parking lot with Saban. I had a few questions of him to help fill in some blanks in my column. I asked the questions and he talked. And he talked. And he talked some more, just the two of us in a now-empty parking lot, long after his commitment to the service club and me had expired.
You have to understand, it wasn't often (and still isn't) that a major sports figure came to town. Some are more generous than others. Saban was a cut above that.
Put another way, Saban didn't have to give me the time of day. Instead, he gave me all the time I wanted.
Lou Saban died the other day at age 87. I'll always think highly of him.