There's no reason to think that [Mal] Moore or a powerful trustee named Paul Bryant Jr. will hire the right guy this time. They've had more opportunities than most and they haven't done so yet. It comes as little solace to Alabama fans these days, but the right guy is rarely the obvious one.
And here is Maisel on January 3, 2006 after Mal Moore did the unthinkable and landed an excellent coaching candidate:
If the report of $32 million over eight years is accurate, give credit to Moore for putting such a big stack of chips behind Saban. He has been accused unfairly of mishandling more searches than Inspector Clouseau -- wrongly accused, in my opinion.
On a related note, Paula Jones just issued a statement complaining about women wrongly accusing Bill Clinton of exposing himself in hotel rooms.
I also have problems with the "woe is college football for misplaced priorities!" statement:
Wealth just triumphed over imagination. The power of college athletics once again ran right up the middle against higher education. Alabama's hiring of Nick Saban takes everything that is skewed about college football, shines a spotlight on it and says, "Hey, watch this!"
On the one hand, he's right that Saban's hiring is a somewhat damning indictment of a state that spends less on education per capita than any other state in the Union. Even if Saban's salary isn't coming directly from the funds used to buy books, computers, and other useless tools of education in Tuscaloosa, the wealthy people funding this hire would be better off donating to improve the quality of the school or increase access through scholarship money. Then again, I'd be better off reading Richard Evans on the Third Reich than Ivan Maisel on Nick Saban, so we can all be criticized for spending too much time and money on sports. But then we get to the uncomfortable point for Ivan that his mortgage is paid by the insane interest in college football that leads to a head coach getting $4M per year. His intellectual talent and reporting skills applied to Alabama's coaching decisions as opposed to relations between China and Taiwan are just as much a case of misplaced resources as the power elite of Alabama spending their millions on a better football coach because they're tired of their accountants from Auburn mocking them year-round. So a pox on everyone's house.