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.
“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.
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