http://www.acadiananow.com/sports/html/7BFBD1B7-BEF3-493B-AA10-19AF72FF215D.shtml LSU’s Saban believes in cause Gannett News Sevice August 4, 2004 John Rowland/[email protected] LSU coach Nick Saban, right, shakes hands with UL Lafayette’s Rickey Bustle before speaking Tuesday night.LAFAYETTE — If LSU football coach Nick Saban had a victory for every speech he’s made this off-season, he’d win the national championship. Oh. Been there, done that. Saban made yet another stop Tuesday night before the start of the season, which is Sunday when players report to campus. He was the guest speaker at the First Baptist Church to kick off the Games of Acadiana for cancer. Last Wednesday, he spoke in Lake Charles, then Birmingham, Ala., on Thursday for the Southeastern Conference Media Days and on Friday he was in Orlando, Fla., for ESPN’s kickoff special. In between, he summered with his wife, children and now famous dog Lizzy in northern Georgia. But he made time for Games of Acadiana, a series of sports and games for all ages that begin Aug. 21 and has raised more than $1 million for the Miles Perret Center for cancer services in the Lafayette area. There weren’t a lot of cameras. In fact, there was no pre-speech dinner. “There are literally hundreds of places where coach Saban could’ve been tonight instead of Lafayette, Louisiana,” said Robert Trahan in introducing Saban to a crowd of several hundred at the large church. “But Coach Saban is here. Because he cares.” Saban has been touched by cancer in recent years. His wife Terry’s mother died of cancer two years ago. Jeff Boss, LSU’s beloved equipment manager for 24 years, died of cancer last year. And Charlie Harbison, an assistant coach of Saban’s in 2001 and 2002 at LSU, lost his wife to cancer. “Cancer is a terrible, terrible illness,” Saban said. “This cause could be no greater. I would like to thank you for letting me be here. This is not about LSU and LSU football. This is about a disease that can affect everyone and anyone. “I only wish my passion could be as significant a pursuit as is that of you people. When I was driving over here with Terry, I was thinking about how much time and work we all put into what we do. And whatever I do relative to what is done here makes my work almost seem insignificant.” Saban asked for those in the crowd who are either suffering from cancer, have beaten cancer or know someone fighting cancer to stand up. After some applause, Saban said, “These are the people that should’ve gotten a standing ovation, not me. “We live in a time and a world where people can be pretty self absorbed, especially athletes. They’re concerned with what it means to me. Well, cancer can happen to anyone. I cannot tell you how much gratitude I have for you and what you’ve done here. You’re concerned with others.” Temporarily at least, Saban helped bring together LSU and University of Louisiana-Lafayette people at the First Baptist Church, which is located near the heart of the UL campus. Before starting his speech, he introduced UL football coach Rickey Bustle. “I thought I was going to stumble tonight,” said Trahan, a diehard UL fan. “ I didn’t stumble when I said Nick Saban, but I did when I said, ‘coach of the LSU Tigers national championship football team.’ “I took a lot of flak from my LSU friends when they heard my radio spot for this event. They said, ‘Well, it’s about time you came around.’ I don’t know about that, but I’m proud of coach Saban. Basically there are two kinds of people — those that pursue happiness and those that create happiness. Coach Saban has created an awful lot of happiness in the state of Louisiana.” Saban continued that in Lafayette on Tuesday night. “Let me close by saying the passion with which you work is special,” he said. “Never give it up. People with cancer need it more than you’ll ever know.” BARRINGTON EDWARDS GONE Saban confirmed Tuesday night that sophomore running back Barrington Edwards of Bowie, Md., has left the LSU team. “He’s not coming back,” Saban said following his speech. “We mutually agreed that he’d be looking for another school to transfer to, and I agreed to help him look for one.” Edwards was reportedly kicked off the team earlier in the summer, but Saban said at that time he was still on the team. Edwards then appeared in the 2004 LSU football media guide released just last week with the following description: “Explosive runner who adds to the depth at the running back position. … heads into fall camp in a battle for carries at running back.” Edwards, who was a major recruit out of Bowie High School, gained 169 yards on 41 carries last season. He gained 2,289 yards with 30 touchdowns as a junior at Bowie High in 2001. He was not expected to be a major figure at tailback this season as he was behind fellow sophomores Justin Vincent and Alley Broussard and senior Shyrone Carey. Ironically, Saban spoke Tuesday night about how Vincent went from a fifth team tailback last year to the cover of Sports Illustrated. DON’T THANK ME In a question-and-answer session with the audience that followed Saban’s speech, Saban was told, “Thank you for not jumping to the NFL.” When Saban heard this, he immediately pointed to his wife Terry in the front row.