TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama head football coach Nick Saban and 12 athletes representing the program took part in helping construct a house in the West End neighborhood of Tuscaloosa on Wednesday.
The house is being built by the Nick's Kids Foundation in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and is the 18th house in the 18 for 18 Project — an endeavor started in the aftermath of the April 2011 tornado outbreak — that builds a house every time the Crimson Tide wins a national title.
"We sort of do this because I guess it's the rent we pay on earth, how we serve other people," Saban said. "A lot of people support the University of Alabama, a lot of people support the program. This is one way that we can give back to support the community."
Saban also joked that his wife, Terry Saban, provides him with a lot of motivation to keep winning titles at Alabama so that Nick's Kids can build another home for someone in need.
"It's Miss Terry's goal that every time we win one, and she puts quite a bit of pressure on me to win 'em so she can build another house," Saban said. "This is kind of her baby and what she does."
The recipient of the 18th house is Joselyn Hamner, who works for the University of Alabama in its Environmental Sciences department. Hamner, along with her two children, will be moving into the house once it is completed later this year.
"I want to thank coach Saban and Miss Terry the Nick's Kids Foundation for everything," Hamner said. "It really, truly is a blessing."
High Socks for Hope will furnish the home once it is completed.
Among the 12 athletes representing Alabama was running back Brian Robinson Jr., who was born and raised in the Tuscaloosa community. A redshirt senior for the Crimson Tide, Robinson has been a part of two national championships but admitted that this was his first time participating in a team workday.
That being said, Robinson stated that he wants to take part in future workdays in order to better serve his community.
"It feels good to be back out here and help build a house in the same community that I grew up in," Robinson said. "[...] This is my first time. I'm appreciative to be out here. I enjoy doing this. It makes me feel good to be out here in the community working and doing something nice."
Throughout the years since the 18 for 18 Project first came about, Nick's Kids has hosted multiple workdays for the Crimson Tide's athletes to get out into the community and serve. Some projects have consisted of building houses for the project, while other workdays have consisted of other acts of kindness and service throughout the community.
Saban noted that workdays like Tuesday's can be used as a tool to teach athletes about the importance of giving back to local communities.
"It's also something that we use — as you see players here today — for them to learn the importance of giving back to the community and community service and how do you serve and help other people," Saban said. "We're excited about this, we're excited about helping some family be able to have a better quality of life because of what we've been able to do in partnering with [Habitat for Humanity] to build these houses."