Some, like Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, call him "Nicky Satan." Others, like Florida offensive line coach Tim Davis, call him "the Devil himself."
If you're an Alabama fan, he probably carries a more complimentary nickname—"national champion."
The seventh-year head coach of the Crimson Tide has been at the helm leading the Tide into its current status as the first modern-day dynasty of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) era.
He also makes opposing fans nervous.
Saban spoke at an event hosted at the Athens (Tenn.) Area Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday in front of an estimated crowd of 1,500, some of whom weren't happy that Saban was so close to the University of Tennessee campus, according to the Associated Press.
Emails, voice mails and calls flooded the event, one of which bordered on a death threat, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
"It was filled with cuss words," chamber president Rob Preston said. "It said, 'Whoever is responsible for this should be dead'."
Guess what? It wasn't the first sign of the apocalypse.
Every high school prospect in Tennessee didn't immediately commit to play in Tuscaloosa. The Tennessee program didn't evaporate into thin air.
This wasn't a Crimson Caravan event, it was a benefit dinner at Tennessee Wesleyan College in which Saban primarily discussed charities and leadership, according to AL.com.
That's a good thing.
Sure, when the floor opened up and questions were allowed from the crowd, it turned into a massive version of Saban's wildly entertaining Hey Coach radio program. That's a good thing (especially if you were following along on Twitter).
Here's an example, courtesy of Andrew Gribble of AL.com:
A teenage fan just asked Saban if he could have a scholarship.— Andrew Gribble (@Andrew_Gribble) June 12, 2013
Saban was also clearly on his game when it comes to deflection, answering the easiest questions in the most "Saban-esque" fashion.
First question from fan: How many national titles do you want to win? Saban: "Just (focused on) the next one."— Andrew Gribble (@Andrew_Gribble) June 11, 2013
The bottom line is, this wasn't a big deal. In fact, it's a good thing.
It gave Alabama fans in the area a chance to hear Saban speak at a rubber chicken event in the offseason. That happens everywhere. Yes, sometimes these events are scheduled in locations that are beneficial to the location of a specific recruit or recruits.
Right now, though, both Alabama and Tennessee are recruiting at an elite level. One appearance isn't going to make an impact on the momentum for either school, especially considering both schools are headed in the right direction in a hurry.
Saban didn't apologize for invading enemy territory, nor should he. Now if he steals Jalen Hurd, Todd Kelly and some of the other Tennessee commits, then it'd be time to worry. But as of now; no harm, no foul.
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