It's pretty easy to find Nick Saban's height: Saban was a defensive back for the Kent State Golden Flashes for the 1970, 1971, and 1972 seasons and also played for the baseball team in 1972. Every year and for both teams, his height and weight were listed at 5-foot-6, 185 lbs. So he's about three and a half inches shorter than the average American male—ha ha, Nick Saban is short.

But here's where the plot thickens: Saban sure doesn't look 5-foot-6 when he's photographed next to other, taller people. There have long been rumors that Saban wears shoe lift inserts, the monument to male vanity that is to shortness what toupées are to baldness: people joke about it on Twitter, people have reported it from in-person interactions, and some people have even been fooled by the maneuver.

So let's go to the tape. It's tough to find images where both parties are standing to their full height—I don't think I've ever stood to my full height in my life—but with a little margin for error, it looks as though Saban's lifts give him about 3 inches, in line with the tallest you can buy.

For example, if Roger Goodell is a couple inches shorter than Robert Griffin, that puts him at around 6-foot:


Nick Saban looked almost as tall as Goodell here, and he's farther away from the camera:

President Obama is six-foot-one; when the University of Alabama football team visited the White House after their National Championship victory, Saban sure didn't look seven inches shorter than the Commander-in-Chief:


And here he is looking, oh, six or seven inches shorter than the six-foot-four Dont'a Hightower:


While you might note that some of the boost comes from normal shoe height, everyone in all of these pictures is wearing shoes. The verdict? Nick Saban—fearsome intimidator, coaching impresario, unmatched innovator—wears some big-ass lifts when he makes non-game public appearances. For the record, he looks about five-foot-six on the field (here, Les Miles, who is reputed to be no more than five-foot-eight, looks down at Saban during their post-game handshake), so he doesn't let his vanity get in the way of running up and down the sideline and making terrifying faces.

Of course, this isn't an exact science, but, no matter what, we do not recommend confirming with Saban himself.


CORRECTION: Many people are saying Les Miles is closer to 6-foot. So there's that, too!