By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News
University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban is getting political. Not in the state of Alabama, but in his home state of West Virginia.
Saban appears in the latest television commercial for U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who is facing a heated reelection contest this fall.
“Joe and I grew up together in West Virginia, and he never forgets where he came from,” Saban says into the camera to the beat of a marching band drum line reminiscent of college football Saturdays.
“I don’t have a better friend or know a better person than Joe Manchin,” he says.
NBA legend Jerry West and University of West Virginia head basketball coach Bob Huggins also appear in the ad to speak well of their childhood friend and teammate.
Saban has been reluctant to engage politically during his coaching career. He famously snubbed former President George W. Bush during a visit to South Florida when he was head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin said he has talked to Manchin about Saban’s politics. Manchin described Saban as a moderate democrat who prefered not to get involved in Alabama’s big political fights, Martin said, namely the Roy Moore Doug Jones race in 2017.