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Kent State Football to Square Off Against Alabama in 2011

Posted Oct, 21, 2010

Kent State University and the University of Alabama announced on Oct. 20 that the schools have signed a contract to meet on the gridiron in 2011. The Golden Flashes will travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face the Crimson Tide on Saturday, Sept. 3, in the season opener for both teams. The game will take on added significance due to the fact that Alabama head coach Nick Saban is a Kent State graduate.

The game will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools and Kent State’s first visit to a Southeastern Conference school since traveling to Kentucky in 2007.

“What a tremendous opportunity for us to open our 2011 season against one of the preeminent programs in the country, especially when the head coach is a Kent State alum,” said Kent State Director of Athletics Joel Nielsen. “In addition to the obvious tie to coach Saban, the experience of playing in that kind of atmosphere will be a memorable one for our players and fans.”

Saban played defensive back for the Golden Flashes from 1970-72. He was teammates with NFL Hall of Famer Jack Lambert and current Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel in 1972 when Kent State won the only Mid-American Conference championship in school history under the direction of College Football Hall of Fame coach Don James.
 
A 1973 graduate of Kent State with a bachelor's degree in business, Saban went on to earn a master's degree in sports administration in 1975 while serving as a graduate assistant with the Flashes for two seasons. He then spent a year as the linebackers coach on the 1975 squad. His wife, Terry, received her bachelor’s of science degree from Kent State in 1974 before earning her master’s degree in education in 1977.
 
Saban led Alabama to the 2009 BCS National Championship after directing LSU to the 2003 title. He is 34-9 (.791) in four seasons for the eighth-ranked Crimson Tide and owns a collegiate coaching record of 125-51-1 (.709) in 15 seasons as a head coach, having also directed the programs at Michigan State and Toledo.
 
The remainder of Kent State’s 2011 non-conference schedule is comprised of home dates with Louisiana-Lafayette (Sept. 10) and South Alabama (Sept. 24) and a road trip to Manhattan, Kan., on Sept. 17 to square off against Kansas State.

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Media Contact:
Alan Ashby, aashby2@kent.edu, 330-672-8419