Long before he became a successful college football coach, Nick Saban was once a talented three-sport athlete at Monongah High School in his native West Virginia.

On the field, the senior quarterback and safety guided the undefeated Lions to a Class A state championship in 1968.

On the court and diamond, he was an all-state guard and infielder.

Off the field, though? Even Saban couldn’t score the perfect homecoming and prom date.

“I didn't have much luck in high school and ended up picking wrong a few times for homecoming and prom, and it still haunts me to this day,” said Saban, smiling, before adding after a long pause, “Miss Terry’s in Florida, so maybe she won’t hear that.”

Alabama will host its annual homecoming game this Saturday night against Arkansas (2-3, 1-1 Southeastern Conference), a topic was asked about at the end of his Wednesday press conference.

“I think homecoming is a great tradition that we have a lot of respect for,” Saban said. “It's an opportunity for people who have great memories and a lot of pride in their school to come back and revisit friends and relationships and memories, and the football game is a great rallying point for all that.

“I think the players sort of understand that, it's important to a lot of people, and I'm sure they'd like to play well, because of that. We certainly have, I certainly have a lot of respect for the traditions of homecoming.”

Under Saban, the Crimson Tide has never lost on homecoming (8-0). Last season, then-No. 1 Alabama routed Western Carolina, 48-14, on Nov. 22.

“Miss Terry,” Saban’s wife, was the Alabama coach’s high school sweetheart. According to his still-active LSUSports.net biography page, Saban married Terry Constable of Fairmont, West Virginia on Dec. 18, 1971.

Terry Saban will host co-host the school’s homecoming parade with WVUA23’s Lynn Brooks prior to Saturday’s contest, a role she has served in for the past several years. Coverage begins at 1 p.m.

Monongah High School closed in 1979 to form North Marion High School with other small, surrounding communities in Marion County, West Virginia, where both Nick and Terry Saban grew up.

Remember, you can also listen to Crimson Tide Sports Network’s coverage of Alabama-Arkansas this Saturday on Tide 99.1 FM and our sister station 95.3 The Bear FM.

Watch player interviews from Wednesday: