An Alabama sports anchor has recently decided that now is the time to raise an issue of great importance: Sometimes, people call Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban “Nick,” a gross overstep when it comes to courtly behavior. (The full argument is on Facebook, which I will not link to because I would never send you to Facebook on purpose.)
I don’t personally think it’s important to show coaches the deference you would offer a general or a judge or the like, but I also understand that some people want the sense of distance and admiring respect that saying, “Coach, Hank Hankerson from Hankfootball.gambling” implies.
History, fortunately enough, offers us a middle way.
In centuries past, persons of royal stature had their formal title, but they also often had more descriptive appellations that focused on their accomplishments or notable characteristics. Thus, King William I becomes William the Conqueror, Sultan Mehmed IV becomes Mehmed the Hunter, and King Louis X becomes Louis the Quarrelsome. (Look, not even kings get to choose their own nicknames.)
I propose we borrow this system when speaking of or to coaches in sports. This keeps both sides happy, as it combines the imperiousness the Coach doctrinaires crave with the conversational simplicity of talking to coaches as though they were regular people. Below, I have compiled a modest handful of proposals, though of course we’ll run this through a rigorous consultation process and bill the universities for months of work before settling on any of these names:
- Coach Fleck -> PJ the Excessive
- Coach Swinney -> Dabo the Offender
- Coach Brown -> Mack the Sprightly
- Coach Solich -> Frank the Immovable
- Coach Miles -> Les the Untimely
- Coach Freeze -> Hugh the Inquisitive
- Coach Kiffin -> Lane the Unformed
- Coach Helton -> Clay the Entrenched
- Coach Fisher -> Jimbo the Prosperous
- Coach Mullen -> Dan the Obstreperous
- Coach Kelly -> Brian the Amaranthine
- Coach Frost -> Scott the Dissatisfied
- Coach Fuente -> Justin the Loathed
- Coach Harsin -> Bryan the Brave and/or Foolish
Please provide any further suggestions in the comments and we’ll do our best to get you a check from the appropriate school as a “regal nominative consultant” or whatever.