TUSCALOOSA, Ala. _ Although University of Alabama coach Nick Saban always calls it his favorite day of the year, he’s smart enough to have his wife Terry out in the forefront and speak first at the Nick’s Kids Giveaway Luncheon.

Although it’s an annual event held in The Zone-North at Bryant-Denny Stadium that essentially marks the end of summer for the Crimson Tide, Terry often gets emotional when she takes the podium. This year was no exception as she began by saying, “I can hardly stop smiling,” and seemed to be particularly thankful about the things that have recently changed in their lives, including becoming grandparents for the first time.

So after suggesting that there are now “Nick’s Kids” and “Nick’s Kids’ Kids,” she consequently decided to let everyone in on a housekeeping issue that could certainly qualify as a good problem to have.

“Our house now needs to be painted,” she said to hundreds of children and staff workers for various local charities who were enjoying themselves as well. “We’ve never lived anywhere long enough for our house to be repainted. That’s a blessing.”

For some, so was the luncheon, which has become more than just a Tuscaloosa tradition in the month of July.

The Nick’s Kids Foundation actually goes back to before he took over the Crimson Tide in 2007, and began in 1998 when Saban was the head coach at Michigan State. The non-profit organization followed him to stops at Louisiana State and with the Miami Dolphins, but has always been dedicated to supporting children, family, teacher and student causes.

It’s also not named after the coach, but honors the memory of his father, Nick Sr. Most Crimson Tide fans know the famous story of the community leader in West Virginia who not only coached the youth football team still known as the Idamay Black Diamonds, but scrounged up the money to buy a used bus that he drove to the surrounding areas to pick up all the kids for practice.

The field that they play on is now known as Nick Saban Field, and not because of the guy who’s won national championships. Additionally, last year Pop Warner announced that its first named scholarship fund would be the Nick Saban Sr. Scholarship, with recipients determined by academic achievement and demonstration of leadership qualities on and off the field.

“Our motivation for this really comes from my dad,” Saban said. “It has been our family’s commitment to keep the legacy alive by what he started to try and help young people and give them a better opportunity to be successful. That is certainly why we are here today.”

This year the Sabans distributed $440,000 to 125 organizations from throughout the region, and more than $600,000 overall.

That was up from $415,644 in 2013 and brought the total since the Sabans arrived at the Capstone to more than $3.5 million, not including another $1 million earmarked for tornado relief. While the foundation has raised money and helped serve as facilitator for those post-April 27, 2011 recovery efforts, it helped spearhead the 15 for 15 Home Building Project with Habitat for Humanity of Tuscaloosa.

The money is raised year-round through the annual Nick’s Kids Golf Tournament in June, speaking engagements by both the husband and wife (some of which happen while the football season is ongoing), as well as individual donations.

The golf outing, in which the coach plays one hole with every foursome, marks another important point on the calendar for Saban as it’s always held right before he goes on vacation.

This last time when he arrived at Old Overton Golf Club in Vestavia Hills just outside of Birmingham he was in typical Saban fashion thinking about ways to improve the event and organization.

“We went to the Dick Vitale thing this year, Jimmy V (Foundation), it raised over 2 million dollars for pediatric cancer,” said Saban, who made a $50,000 donation at the May gala in Sarasota. “I’ve been pretty satisfied so far with what we’ve been able to do, but after seeing that and seeing the kids, this is something we’d like to do even more in the future.”

Nevertheless, the luncheon itself has taken on a life of its own over the years, as its always held after the coach has the freshmen players over to the house for some boating and inner tube rides right before training camp opens. The speeches are short, and lines can get a little long, but instead of mailing out the donations the coach makes a point to meet, shake hands and have a photo taken with everyone involved.

Saban also takes time to sign more than the checks, but autographs as well, along with numerous players. This year’s contingency was the largest yet and included Arie Kouandjio, Jalston Fowler, Christion Jones, Robert Foster, Austin Shepherd, Ryan Kelly, Brian Vogler, Landon Collins, Jarrick Williams, DeAndrew White, Blake Sims, Derrick Henry, Geno Smith, Maurice Smith and Dalvin Tomlinson.

“Happiness comes from doing something of significance, and it really comes from doing something of significance for someone else,” Saban said. “I would really like to thank all of the people here today that work with the children who really provide the leadership to affect them, so they have a better chance to live a quality life. They really do care about these young people, and they really do serve them every day.

“Those are the people who really should be the heroes here today.”

A final highlight of the luncheon is also its lasting image, when the Sabans do a group photo with all kids in attendance, which requires the photographer to have both a very wide lens and a ladder to get everyone in the shot.

On this occasion, though, they had some extra pictures taken of the family, and one with just their granddaughter, Amélie.

“It’s really special to us,” Saban said.