Lou Saban

Louis Henry Saban (October 13, 1921 – March 29, 2009) was an American football player and coach. He played for Indiana University in college and as a professional for the Cleveland Browns of the All-America Football Conference between 1946 and 1949. Saban then began a long coaching career. After numerous jobs at the college level, he became the first coach of the Boston Patriots in the American Football League (AFL) in 1960. He joined the Buffalo Bills two years later, and led the team to consecutive AFL championships in 1964 and 1965. After serving briefly as head coach at the University of Maryland, he was hired as head coach of the Denver Broncos in 1967, where he remained for five years. Saban returned to the Bills—by then in the National Football League following the AFL–NFL merger—from 1972 to 1976, reaching the playoffs once but failing to bring Buffalo another championship.

Following his departure from Buffalo, Saban returned to college coaching. He coached teams including the University of Miami, Army, University of Central Florida and Peru State College. He also coached at the high school level and for two Arena Football League teams. Saban switched jobs frequently and developed a reputation as an itinerant. At Central Florida, he was nicknamed Lou "two point two" Saban because he typically stayed in a coaching job for about 2.2 years. Saban initially dismissed this characterization, but came to accept it later in life. He held 21 coaching jobs during his 50-year career, which ended with a job at Chowan University in North Carolina between 2001 and 2002. Saban's combined record as a coach in the AFL and NFL was 95–99–7. His college football record was 94–99–4. Saban suffered from heart problems and had a fall in his home that required hospitalization in 2009. He died in March of that year.

By Dean Hanley

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