Story by Kristine Alford
Lars Anderson, a New York Times bestselling author, just released a captivating new book about the University of Alabama’s college football program, and it’s one of our favorite reads this season.
Anderson has written six books, including Storm the Tide and The All Americans. With twenty years of experience as a sports writer, he’s a senior college football reporter for Bleacher Report and a journalism instructor at the University of Alabama. Anderson has dedicated a large portion of his career to the University of Alabama football program, building relationships with players, fans, and Nick Saban himself. While he studied Saban’s unique and undeniably successful coaching style, he discovered several parallelisms between Saban and his predecessor Bear Bryant, which inspired his newest book.
Both Bear Bryant and Nick Saban are undeniable kings of college football, two coaches at Alabama who have each won more national championships – six apiece – than anyone else in the history of the game. In his upcoming book, CHASING THE BEAR: How Bear Bryant and Nick Saban Made Alabama the Greatest College Football Program of All Time (Grand Central Publishing; on-sale September 3), Anderson examines how these two legendary coaches built an empire. Along the way, it reveals their similarities in style, background, football philosophy, and recruiting methods, while providing readers with a rare inside look at two of the greatest leaders in the history of sports.
Bear Bryant and Nick Saban never met, but they have more in common than either of them realize. Both grew up in small towns – Bryant in Moro Bottom, Arkansas, a dot on the map, and Saban from Monongah, West Virginia, population five hundred. As a child, Saban pumped gas at his father’s service station, washing and waxing cars and doing anything he could to help the business. Bryant’s father suffered from multiple physical ailments, which forced Bryant to work to keep the family farm going. Both men knew the value of hard work from the time they were young boys, and both understood that there were no shortcuts to success. But both dreamed of escaping their hometowns, and both used football as the means to do so.
Separated by two generations, Bear Bryant and Nick Saban are mythic figures linked by a school, a town, and a barroom debate centering on one question: Which is the greatest college coach of all time?