SUNY Canton Mourns Former Coach Lou Saban

Inspirational football coach and mentor Lou Saban will be remembered fondly at SUNY Canton.

Saban, an 87-year-old native of Brookfield, Ill., died on Sunday (March 29, 2009) at his home in North Myrtle Beach, S.C.

He helped launch the SUNY Canton football program in 1995 and coached the team for six years, the longest stint of his career.

Lou Saban

“We consider ourselves fortunate to have known and worked with Lou,” SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy said. “He built the football program here from the ground up and was dedicated to SUNY Canton and our student-athletes. We had a lot of fun during our successful football seasons, and we have great memories of Lou and his teams.”

He compiled a 34-16 record during his career at SUNY Canton, including a 7-0 high mark during that inaugural 1995 season. The College’s football field was proudly named in his honor in the late 90’s.

Senior Athletic Staff Assistant Jerry Sawyer coached with Saban throughout his years at the College, and the two forged a long-lasting friendship.

“Lou brought a tremendous amount of experience to the program and was a no-nonsense coach,” Sawyer said. “My relationship with Lou allowed me to meet some people I never would have met and to do some things I never thought I would do.”

Saban spent 16 seasons coaching professional football with the Boston Patriots, Buffalo Bills, and the Denver Broncos. He compiled a record of 95-99-7. He also coached at the University of Miami, Army, Northwestern, Western Illinois, Peru State, Chowan State, and the University of Maryland. His resume also includes time spent as president of the New York Yankees. He was also the athletic director at both the University of Miami and the University of Cincinnati.

Prior to coaching, Saban played football at Indiana University and professionally with the Browns.

SUNY Canton halted the football program following the 2003 season when the College began planning the transition to a four-year athletic program. Subsequently, the College began baseball and cross-country programs.

SUNY Canton offers a wide variety of career-driven bachelor’s, associate, and certificate programs, as well as three master’s degrees in conjunction with SUNYIT, Utica. Most of SUNY Canton’s new four-year programs are designed so students can take them on-campus, online, or both. SUNY Canton OnLine features more than 100 courses online each semester. The college’s athletic teams belong to the NAIA’s Sunrise Conference, enabling students to compete in their respective sports for four years.

Media inquiries should be directed to Gregory Kie, Media Relations Coordinator, or call 315/386-7528.

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4 Responses to “SUNY Canton Mourns Former Coach Lou Saban”

  1. Arion Vincent Says:

    As a former memebr of the 1997 SUNY Canton Football Team and 1998 SUNY Canton Football Coaching Staff, I know Lou is up there smiling down and no doubt yelling at someone, RIP Lou, You were a great man who saw potential in me as a coach and I appreciate that.

  2. William Blasko Says:

    As a former SUNY Canton Football player 97-99′. This man was a great Mentor and coach. I learned more in 2 weeks from this man about football than the other 18 years of football that I played.

    Glad he is in a better place.

  3. H.D. Burley Says:

    As a former SUNY Canton Northstars Football player 96′-98′. Lou gave me the opportunity to play the game and perform to my best ability. He was a no nonsense coach who didn’t play politics like most college coaches do. With this opportunity he gave me, I went on to a four year college in Kansas to continue playing football with a scholarship. I am forever thankful to Lou Saban for mentoring me and helping pave my future. He lived a great life.

    On the flip side, if everyone would take time to look at an article written about Lou Saban in the Orlando Sentinel. I live in Orlando, FL now and in today’s paper 4/1/09 in the sports page there was an article written bad mouthing Lou Saban, based on the short time he coached UCF. Please go to and read, below the article, please feel free to email your comment to the jerk that wrote it.

    H.D. Burley

  4. H.D. Burley Says:

    To my message above, the address to the article is at:,0,4213941.column

    Again, feel free to email the jerk that wrote the article.