Saban gets advice from Villanova coach Talley on how to manage stress

ORLANDO – The words seem unusual for idle chatter at a awards luncheon. But, considering the times, they probably are not surprising. While eating at an event to honor the national championship teams at the American Football Coaches Association convention Tuesday, Villanova’s Andy Talley turned to Alabama’s Nick Saban and said, “Have you ever had a near-death experience? Well, I have.”

Then Talley, 66, proceeded to tell Saban about his heart attack in 2002, something he called his “wake up call.”

While he was in the hospital, Talley, whose team won the Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA) title 23-21 over Montana in December, said he did not think about football. He said he thought about his children and his wife and his family. And he made some decisions to cut back on what he was doing at work: “I stopped calling plays. I started delegating. I realized that football is not brain surgery.

“Lifestyle has become more important than money.”