— ATHENS, Tenn. (AP) — Alabama football coach Nick Saban wants to make sure the defending national champions take nothing for granted.
Saban said Tuesday during an Athens (Tenn.) Area Chamber of Commerce benefit dinner at Tennessee Wesleyan College that he recently showed his team a tape of James "Buster" Douglas' stunning 1990 knockout of Mike Tyson as a warning to avoid complacency.
"You become the target," said Saban, whose team is seeking its third straight BCS title and fourth in the past five years. "Everybody's got our name circled. Everyone wants to beat us. You've got to get ready for that. When the game comes, everybody wants to win. Who prepared to win the game the right way?"
Saban's visit to a town less than 60 miles south of Tennessee's campus produced more than 100 complaints over the past several months, according to Athens Area Chamber of Commerce president Rob Preston. After all the tumult preceding his appearance, Saban received a hero's welcome in a setting that resembled a booster event.
The Alabama coach got a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 1,500 fans who paid $50 for tickets and lined up single-file amid sweltering conditions to see him. Saban stepped to the podium inside a giant tent after multiple playings of "Sweet Home Alabama" and the school's fight song.
"This is the kind of community that I grew up in when I was a kid, (with) a lot of great people, a lot of down-to-earth people who have great values and are hard-working," said Saban, a West Virginia native.
Alabama athletic department spokesman Jeff Purinton said Saban makes a handful of these types of appearances that aren't booster-related each year, including a recent corporate event in New York.