Mark Ingram II made his Fox Sports debut in grand style on Saturday. The former star running back at the University of Alabama rumbled in on a horse on Big Noon Kickoff. If that weren’t enough, the Fox crew put together a surprise for their new crew member.The surprise? None other than Ingram’s former coach at Alabama, Nick Saban!
Rob Stone presented a video made by Saban, who left a message for his former Heisman Trophy-winning star.
Big Noon Kickoff had a surprise for new analyst Mark Ingram… his former head coach, Nick Saban! pic.twitter.com/44r1AWPmWh
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) September 2, 2023
“You know, Mark, they’re trying to get me to give you a hard time about something,” Saban joked. “If it was Rinaldi or one of these other guys that I’ve had some experiences with, it’d be very easy to do. But for you? It’s really hard because you’ve always been a model citizen to me.
“I’d like to congratulate you on a great career,” he said. “I’d like to congratulate you on the opportunity you have as a sports broadcaster. We appreciate you, we love you. You’ve been a great ambassador to the University of Alabama. God bless you.”
All told, it was really a nice, heartfelt message from Saban to one of his star pupils. Ingram had an illustrious career at Alabama, where he became the program’s first-ever Heisman winner. Ingram was one of Saban’s best recruits and helped lead the program to a National Championship in 2009. When Saban retires, Ingram will still be one of Nick’s most outstanding and respected players.
On-air surprises are all the rage right now. The MLB on Fox crew recently pranked and surprised newcomer Derek Jeter with a hilarious gift: A Jeter Boston Red Sox jersey. Charles Barkley also surprised longtime co-host Ernie Johnson with news that Johnson would be inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.