Saban, a native of West Virginia, said the honor was especially meaningful to him because of a gesture Bowden made when Saban was a young assistant coach at Kent State. Bowden was the head coach at West Virginia at the time and knew Saban's father. "After my father passed away, my mother was having a lot of problems, and coach Bowden called and said if I needed to come home, he'd create a graduate assistant position for me," Saban recalled. "I never, ever forgot that, and I don't think anybody in my family ever forgot it. "So this is as special an honor as I can get, based on the history that we have with coach Bowden and the class that he has."