TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Nick Saban and his wife Terry have become a fixture in the Tuscaloosa community for more than winning national championships.
Saban's charity, Nick's Kids, announced it has cleared $4 million in funds raised after distributing $400,000 to 115 organizations at the annual Nick's Kids luncheon on Thursday.
"This is my favorite day of the year," Saban said. "You can see there are a lot of young people excited and having a lot of fun. Terry and I are both very much committed to trying to support young people, so they have a better opportunity to be successful and live a better quality life whatever their circumstance is."
The Saban's founded the charity while at Michigan State. Saban credits his father with the inspiration for the charity.
Nick's Kids is designed to help children, families, teacher and student causes and organizations in need. For the 2012-2013 year, Nick's Kids gave $700,000 to causes benefitting children, teachers and students.
"It's really in the legacy of my father and what he started," Saban said. "We're excited to be able to be in a position to continue to do it."
More than $1 million of the total raised since the Saban's arrival has gone to tornado relief efforts. The organization originally committed to build "14 houses for 14 national championships," but upgraded to "15 for 15" after the Crimson Tide's BCS National Championship victory over Notre Dame.
Saban posed for pictures and signed autographs for ardent Alabama fans. Among others, players such as linebacker C.J. Mosley, wide receiver Amari Cooper and defensive back Vinnie Sunseri signed autographs to support the event. Saban noted that it is "fantastic" to be able to interact with the children.
"There's nothing that makes your heart feel better than to see some young kid who's got a big smile on their face and they're happy," Saban said. "... There's a lot of positive self gratification for Terry and I both."
While Thursday was a day for celebrating the charity's great work, today will be all business for the Tide as the team begins preseason practice. Saban will address reporters for the first time since SEC Media Days.
"Obviously, we're very excited about the opportunities that this team has for what they can choose to accomplish this season by what they do every day and how they do it," Saban said. "We really haven't done anything yet but we have a lot of opportunities, and how we'll take advantage those, it's certainly the challenge we all have amongst ourselves to help each other do that."