You can joke about Nick Saban not having a heart all you want, but what the most powerful coach in college football did after Alabama’s win over Arkansas on Saturday was special.
Saban sought out and found Arkansas center Frank Ragnow to offer words of encouragement. The center’s father, Jon, recently passed away, and Saban knows what it’s like to lose your dad while away at college.
The transcript, via Gridiron Now:
“I lost my father when I was in the first year of graduate school,” Saban said. “He’s a fine young man and a great player. For him to have to go through that, our thoughts and prayers are with his family. I just wanted to tell him that, try to encourage him to some kind of way embrace the good memories and good times that he had with his father because that’ll be something that he can keep with him forever.”
The two are not exactly strangers. Ragnow visited Tuscaloosa while he was being recruited and tweeted that the two had met.
This week, Ragnow expressed gratitude to those who have lent support and also Instagrammed a collage of memories of time spent with his father.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out to our family. My dad had so many people who loved him and I'm so thankful to have him as a dad.— Frank Ragnow (@KNARFWONGAR) October 3, 2016
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema went on SportsCenter this week to talk about, among other things, how the situation was handled during this week.
“[Ragnow’s mother] reached out to me [after the Alcorn State game] and asked me to get Frank and get around him and we were gonna break the news that his father unfortunately had passed earlier that night after the game,” Bielema said. “It was actually his mom and dad’s anniversary if you can believe that, that unfortunately, Jon had not lived through.”
Bielema was able to return to Ragnow’s home in Minnesota with the lineman to continue lending support. The center spent time studying the Bama game plan from home and rejoined the team on Thursday, and started Saturday night.