Body doubles in acting are just a part of the process, even when it comes to Alabama coach Nick Saban.
A local Alabama resident performs that role in place of Saban for his well-known Aflac commercials, according to a story by WVTM-13.
Bob Kuykendall is the actor, and he calls himself, “I don’t know if you would call me a big actor. I’m a small time actor.”
Kuykendall, a realtor and former law enforcement specialist, explained that all the commercial shoot needed was someone about Saban’s height and build to feed the other actors their lines. The actor sets the stage with other actors through lighting and sound checks before Saban arrives.
“We get all of this done, and then at the last minute, they bring him out,” he said. “Which is pretty cool, because you can hear in the earphones, ‘Coach is walking,’ which is pretty cool, because it’s like Trump is coming to the set or something.”
Kuykendall said it really takes two days to shoot a 30-second commercial. But he doesn’t get to keep the blue blazer. Aflac takes it back after each shoot in case Saban needs it again.
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A lot, obviously, has changed since 2007. Alabama’s won six national titles and athletics revenue went from $67 million the year before Saban arrived ($90.3 million adjusted for inflation) to $189 million in 2020.
It’s all part of the financial arms race within college athletics. Alabama football’s coaching salaries rose 33% over the past five years from $14.0 million to $18.7 million last year as revenues continue to grow. Alabama athletics brought in $189.3 million in the last fiscal year before the COVID-19 pandemic ate an estimated $75 million in revenue in Fiscal Year 2021.
Swinney’s latest contract signed in 2019 lasts 10 years and is worth $92 million total. That averages to $9.2 million a year, less than the $10.6 million Saban’s contract pays over eight years.
Public records show Saban was paid a total of $9,227,934 and 18 cents by UA in 2020. That includes a monthly paycheck of $692,059.07 with a $90,000 bonus paid in February and another $900,000 in December.
This is the sixth time Saban’s contract has been amended since signing his original contract in 2007. The deal, worth an average of $4 million a year and $32 million total, led to calls for congressional hearings into the out-of-control salaries of college athletics coaches.
In a position that has become all too familiar for the seven-time national champion coach, Saban is slated to earn $10.695 million in the ’22 season. Even more, per ESPN’s Alex Scarborough, Saban’s new deal will come out to him averaging $11.7 million, which includes his base salary, talent fee and competition benefits. Prior to Tuesday’s new deal, Saban was slated to make $9.9 million this season.
“Every opportunity I get to sit with him on this wonderful Aflac set, Im gleaning from him just some of the fruit and nuggets hes able to spit to me. I’m happy. Well deserved. … I wish I wouldn’t catch anyone saying anything about the contract Saban has warranted. He is the G.O.A.T.”
Since joining Alabama prior to the ’07 season, Saban has recorded a 178-25 record with the Crimson Tide and led the program to six national championships. Saban will look to coach the Crimson Tide to another College Football Playoff national championship in the ’22 season after most recently losing to Georgia in the title game in January.
In addition to Saban’s figures within his new contract, Nick Kelly of The Tuscaloosa News reported that the extension includes language that requires Saban and his representatives to meet with Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne every February “to look at marketplace trends.” If they find that Saban’s guaranteed annual compensation is less than the average of the five highest-paid college football coaches or less than the three highest-compensated SEC coaches, Alabama will “increase his compensation to the higher of the two averages.”
Sanders, who is headed into his third season at Jackson State, teamed up for a second-round of Aflac commercials last month after Saban previously accused Sanders of paying a Jackson State player $1 million to attend the program in May. After Sanders called out Saban for his comments, Saban apologized and the two have “no beef” between them.
Since 1997, Aflac has donated more than $25 million to “minority organizations,” including the NAACP, the Urban League and historically Black fraternities and sororities.
Sanders debut Aflac commercial is set to premiere at 2:30 p.m. Saturday during the Hawaii and UCLA football game, with the second commercial premiering on Sept. 4. The final commercial is set to premiere later in the year as conference championship games approach.
In February, Aflac announced a $1.5 billion partnership with SoundPoint Capital Management, which includes a $500 million commitment to opportunity zones with a focus on economic development and job creation in low-income communities.
Packaged with the new Sanders endorsement deal is a $75,000 donation commitment from Aflac to JSU “professional development and Coach Prime’s camp,” according to Aflacs press release. The insurance company also announced it has consistently committed to donating to Historically Black Colleges and University-focused college football events like the Tuskegee-Morehouse Football Classic and the Fountain City Classic game.
“Aflac is rooted in caring for people when they need them most, whether through their policies and services or the way they tackle issues that are important to all communities. We share a vision when it comes to supporting HBCUs and, more broadly, communities of color,” Sanders said. “I like to say that I see myself as standing in the gap between those who need greater support and the institutions that can provide that support.”
Did Nick Saban make an Aflac commercial?
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