College football recruiting is often a rat race. That's why you hear stories of guys like Ohio State's Urban Meyer diligently keeping up with recruits via text message. Hustle points count toward a national championship.
But Nick Saban does not share this sentiment. He hasn't won four national championships -- including three at Alabama -- by debasing himself with novelty technology.
Forget Snapchat and Uber. This man has never even sent a text message. Not to a recruit, not to a co-worker. Not even to his wife.
And he plans on keeping it that way.
"I do get text messages, and I do read them,” Saban said last week to The Wall Street Journal. “I just don’t know how to send them back.”
Texting isn't the only modern luxury Saban eschews. The man has seen how much time his wife spends responding to email, and he's not about to throw away his time into a value-less frivolity. "If you don't send any, you don't get any," he says.
Saban's disdain for technology extends to Google, a mysterious entity whose purpose he has yet to pin down.
“I don’t know what you would do,” he said last month, according to the WSJ. “I don’t do any of that stuff.”
Again, these are quotes from arguably the best coach in college football, not Drunk Uncle.
At the same time, it's hard to fault Saban for how he runs his life. In fact, given his line of work, it's something of a minor miracle. At 63 years old, Saban isn't exactly a freak of nature for staying off email and refusing to text. And in the business world, this isn't unheard of among top-level executives.
But Saban's attitudes are unique because his career is built on his ability to recruit high schoolers and foster connections with college students. Those are two age groups whose daily lives are intertwined with technology -- Pew notes that the average teen was sending 60 text messages per day, in addition to other online activity, according to the WSJ.
There are some theories about Saban's tech aversion that hold weight, all of which may be true. One is that he isn't tech-resistant at all -- he's simply focused on efficiency. Saban may not text, but he was one of the first college coaches to adopt Skype in recruiting practices.
Why Skype but not text or email? That leads into the second theory: Saban understands the value of building connections, and he believes face-to-face conversations and handshakes have a greater impact than sending impersonal lines of text.
In other words, Saban gravitates to the best resources at his disposal. It's not that text or email scare him off. It's that neither one is good enough for Saban.