Extra motivation or no extra motivation, second-ranked Alabama is likely to throttle West Virginia when the teams play Saturday at the Georgia Dome in the season opener for both teams.
But just in case ‘Bama coach Nick Saban needed extra motivation, he may have gotten it when West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett told reporters earlier this week that his first kiss came from Saban’s daughter, Kristen.
Trickett was quick to point out that the kiss took place when the two were 6 years old, and that he has no intention of reigniting the romance with Kristen, who’s engaged.
But the news put Kristen back in the national spotlight for the first time in a couple years.
Here’s what you need to know about her:
1. She’s an Alabama Graduate & Former Student Assistant for Her Dad’s Team
Kristen moved around with her dad as he moved from Michigan State to LSU to the Miami Dolphins before eventually settling at Alabama in 2007.
She graduated in 2009 from Tuscaloosa Academy, where she was a cheerleader, according to her LinkedIn page.
She then stayed close to home and attended Alabama, where she worked as a student assistant for the Crimson Tide football program and an events staffer at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
2. One of Her Sorority Sisters Sued Her After the 2 Got Into a Drunken Fist Fight
Saban was in the headlines in 2012, when Sarah Grimes, a sorority sister who once described herself as one of Saban’s best friends, sued Kristen, claiming Saban savagely beat her in a 2010 drunken fight prompted by a Facebook post. You can read the lawsuit in the document above.
In the suit, Grimes claimed that Saban broke down in tears following a night of drinking that had begun with a game of Power Hour because a guy Saban had been dating hadn’t been paying enough attention to her.
When Grimes told Saban to shut up, Saban went upstairs to her room and wrote on Facebook that nobody liked Grimes. That prompted Grimes to enter Saban’s room and confront her.
A fight ensued, and Grimes claimed in the suit that she suffered physical injuries and “severe emotional trauma” from the beating.
The suit alleged:
As a result of the beating and the head injuries Sarah Grimes sustained by Kristen Saban, Sarah has had repeated night terrors, anxiety, physical trembling, fears of dying from brain injuries, trouble sleeping, and intrusive recollections of the event.
According to the suit, the school’s Judicial Affairs office ordered Saban to take psychological testing and an anger management class, and a no contact order was issued between the two.
Saban’s lawyers claimed that she acted in self defense when confronted by Grimes, and in February 2014, a Tuscaloosa judge tossed the lawsuit, writing in a summary judgment that Saban had a right to stand her ground after being attacked.
According to AL.com, Circuit Judge James Roberts wrote the following in his summary judgment:
When [Saban] opened the door to an angry [Grimes] within inches of her face, it was reasonable for [Saban] to believe imminent use of unlawful physical force by [Grimes] was about to be used against her. [Saban] had a right to be in her home, had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand her ground.”
3. She Works for the Event-Planning Company That Manages Alabama Sporting Events
Saban works as an event manager at the Bruno Event Team, a Birmingham-based sports event planning organization whose clients include the Alabama athletic department.
In addition to Alabama sporting events, the list of events the group manages includes SEC tournaments in various sports and golf tournaments including the U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open.
4. She’s Engaged to Childhood Sweetheart Adam Setas
Saban is engaged to fellow Alabama graduate Adam Setas, who was one of her neighbors in East Lansing, Michigan when her dad was the head coach at Michigan State.
The wedding is scheduled for May 30, 2015. According to the couple’s profile on The Knot, the matron of honor is Kelse Laney Saban, the wife of Kristen’s brother Nicholas and the mother of Nick Saban’s first grandchild, who was born in December 2013.
According to The Knot, Kristen Saban and Setas rode to preschool together when they both lived in East Lansing. The Sabans and Setas kept in touch after the Sabans moved away, and Saban and Setas crossed paths again when they both attended Alabama.
The two didn’t spend a lot of time together at Alabama, but got together at the 2013 BCS championship game in Miami, in which Alabama blew out Notre Dame for its second straight title. At the time, Saban was in another relationship, but she left her boyfriend to be with Setas, according to The Knot.
A year later, Setas proposed to Saban on a bridge looking out at the skyline in Nashville, where the two had lived together before Saban moved back to Alabama.
Here’s how the couple describes the proposal on The Knot:
Adam told her he had to “run an errand” before he came back to take her to dinner. While he was out, he called Kristen to tell her his jeep had broken down in East Nashville and that he needed her to come pick him up by the pedestrian bridge across the river. He said that AAA was coming to tow the car soon…Kristen’s reply? …”Won’t AAA give you a ride back here?” (typical response) A frustrated Adam explained that he needed her to pick him up soon so they wouldn’t miss their dinner plans. Kristen agreed (finally) and made her way to the bridge.
When she arrived, Adam was standing on the bridge, flagging her down to come “see something cool” from the top of the bridge. “It’s really neat, you’re going to like it, I promise.”
Kristen, in high heels, trekked (literally) up the bridge to meet Adam. She looked out over the bridge trying to figure out what Adam could possibly show her, besides the amazing view of the skyline of Downtown Nashville. Adam began to laugh and said, “I have to tell you something, but you’re going to be so mad!” (What could possibly be going on now?!) “My jeep is fine…nothing is wrong with it…” Kristen gave him her casual “like, really?” stare … “And AAA is not coming to get my car, but I do need to ask you something” …
At this point Kristen thought that “this could be what I think it is” but wasn’t positive. Adam held her hands and said, “Kristen, we’ve known each other since we were so little, and we’ve been together for a while now and we’ve almost kind of been together our whole lives. I love you so much and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” He got down on his knee, pulling out a box from his suit jacket. “I was wondering, Kristen, will you marry me?” She cried and said (another typical response) “Yeah!….I mean YES!”
You can buy the couple a wedding gift from their Pottery Barn registry.
5. She Took the Ice Bucket Challenge at Bryant-Denny Stadium & Challenged Her Parents
Among the people Saban nominated to take the challenge were her parents and Setas.
Nick Saban accepted the challenge along with the entire Crimson Tide team. The coach’s nominations: Heisman-winning former ‘Bama running back Mark Ingram; U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, who Saban grew up with in West Virginia; Florida coach Will Muschamp, who was Saban’s defensive coordinator at LSU; and TV and radio host Paul Finebaum.