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Albert Clifford[3] "A.C." Slater née Sanchez is the current football coach at Bayside High. In high school, he was the quarterback of the football team and he was on the basketball team in one episode, even though the basketball season coincides with the wrestling season. Formerly, Slater was best friends with Zack Morris, however the friendship with the two struggled following Zack's election as Governor. He remains good friends with Jessie Spano following their graduation, and the two work together at Bayside; Slater knowingly has feelings for Jessie.

History

Early Life

Albert Clifford Slater was born between 1974-1975. An army brat, Slater was an outsider, having transferred to Bayside High at the start of the year. A.C. mentions that he has been to Bolivia, Italy, Iceland and Berlin among other places. He attended 14 schools in the last three years before attending Bayside High in 1989.[4]

University

In the only season of Saved by the Bell: The College Years, we see him attending California University, living in a suite with Screech Powers, Zack Morris, Kelly Kapowski, Leslie Burke, and Alex Tabor. Among the others that he meets is his RA Mike Rogers. Of the highlights of his freshman year, he tries to gain weight for wrestling, tries to join a fraternity, learns of his Hispanic heritage, begins and ends a relationship with suitemate Alex and is there for Zack after he proposes to Kelly Kapowski not long after her relationship their professor Jeremiah Lasky.

Coaching at Bayside

After graduation, Slater becomes the football coach at Bayside, where he remains for the next fifteen years. After the transfer of the students from Douglas High to Bayside, Slater is faced with the difficult decision of making Aisha Garcia the quarterback of the Bayside Tigers. Despite knowing that Aisha is better than Jamie in all regards, he struggles with the concept of a female quarterback; his concerns are alleviated by Jessie, however, who pleads with him to do what is right and publish the line up.

After publishing the line up, Slater receives backlash from Jessie when Jamie finds out that he has been replaced on the team. Upon being confronted, Slater explains that Jamie is bad at football, and he only secured a place on the team due to Slater's friendship with Jessie. Slater explains that Aisha will remain quarterback, and that Jessie should tell Jamie how bad he is at football.

Slater faces further issues with the team when they are unable — or unwilling to try — to win a football match. Aisha and Slater talk, and it is found that Jamie's pep-talks are harming the team. As a resolution, Slater and Aisha trash the locker room and spread rumours supposedly made by the opposing team. This is enough to get the team angry, and they attempt to win the game. They do not win, but Slater remarks that it is at least an improvement on their previous performances.

Feelings for Jessie

On numerous occasions it is made clear that Slater has romantic feelings for Jessie, and has done since they were students at Bayside. Slater attempts to act on his feelings numerous times when he believes the marriage between Jessie and Rene is breaking down. Such acts include asking Jessie out on a movie date, but she quickly shuts him down each time, remarking that she is working on her marriage with Rene. Despite this, Slater still does everything he can to please Jessie, such as leaving his date to shut down a house party.[5]

Slater eventually is able to let go of his feelings for Jessie, and engages in a romantic relationship with one of Principal Toddman's friends.

Return to School

After the pandemic, the students and staff all returned to school. On the first day back, Slater directed traffic, causing issues when Zack stopped to chat after dropping off Mac. They talked about the election Zack had recently lost and Zack asked if Slate was going to their meetup at The Max. Slater said he wasn't sure. After Zack had driven away, Jessie asked Slater how Zack was doing and Slater said he seemed down. Jessie said she'd just spent a year trapped in a house with a man she was divorcing. She was working with a therapist to figure out how to tell Jamie. Slater said he didn't believe in therapy and would never do it. Whenever he had a problem, he just started exercising. Jessie told him that was fine as long as he wasn't using exercise to avoid feeling his feelings.

At a school assembly, Jessie said she was extending her office hours in case anyone needed additional help transitioning back into school. In response, Slater said he was offering an alternative: Pump the Pain Away with Coach Slater. When no one showed up, Slater asked Jessie if she told the kids not to go. She said she didn't, but the next generation was more emotionally mature than they were at that age and understood the value of processing difficult things with other people. Slater said he wasn't going to go to the meetup at The Max because that wasn't how he dealt with things. Despite this, Slater changed his mind and went to The Max, where he and Jessie met up with Lisa, Kelly, and Zack to toast to the memory of recently deceased Screech.[6]

End of Football

Slater tried to rally the football team to beat Valley. Aisha told him Valley didn't have a team anymore because they cancelled football after a kid got hurt. He then went off a tangent about how kids were soft and asked Aisha to tackle him helmet-first. She did so and he ended up seriously injured. Because of this, Toddman cancelled football at Bayside for the year. Slater talked to the team about this and encouraged them to take the opportunity to try something new. He specifically encouraged Aisha to try wrestling.

Aisha came to wrestling try-outs and ended up wrestling The Fish, the only other wrestler in her weight class. After he easily pinned her three times, Aisha went to Slater and quit wrestling. She tried to convince the other football players to stand up to their parents, but they admitted that they also thought football was too dangerous. Slater also admitted that he was scared of one of them getting hurt.[7]

Cutting with Jessie and Therapy

When Slater saw that Jessie was struggling after telling Jamie she and Rene were getting divorced, he invited her to blow off work for the day and take a break. They went to a restaurant on the beach, where Jessie was horrified to learn they used styrofoam cups. She told the server, who pledged to quit if the owner, his father, wouldn't get rid of them. Then she realized Slater had taken her there knowing they used styrofoam cups. After this, Slater ended up sneaking back into Bayside to eat the school lunch.

The next day, Jessie told Slater their day out awakened something in her. Just as Slater was about to confess that he still loved her, she said she'd made a list of all the restaurants that still used styrofoam cups and had a plan to drive to each one.

After this conversation, Slater went to Miriam's office and told her he was still in love with Jessie. Miriam asked Slater who Jessie was and who he was, because he'd just walked in and started talking. She told him he needed to make an appointment.[8]

When Slater encouraged Mac to be honest with his dad about how Zack being at Bayside was making him feel, Jessie was impressed and asked if he'd been going to therapy. He denied it and said it was a sports thing.[9]

Supporting Lexi

When a trans girl at another school faced being kicked off the soccer team because other kids' parents sued, Slater, in an attempt to be supportive of Lexi, benched one of his soccer players so Lexi could play. He also sent the soccer team to carry her to class as their new captain.[10]

Career Fair

At his third therapy session, Slater talked about the upcoming Bayside High career fair. He said it made him feel like a failure because his friends all had big careers. He also said Zack tried to make everything a competition. Miriam said he could break that pattern by choosing not to compete with Zack. However, when he went to the career care, he and Zack went off to hang out and immediately started making bets. As part of a best over whose life was worse, Slater admitted that he was in love with Jessie and couldn't tell her. The bets continued until Zack told Slater to admit his feelings to Jessie. Slater said he would, but then said he couldn't put that on her because she had a lot going on and didn't need to add that to her plate. Zack tried to make another bet, but Slater shut it down, saying he didn't need Zack's approval anymore. He only needed Miriam's. He told Zack that having a therapist was great and it was making his life better. He and Zack then joined the rest of the group and went to Jessie's for a party.[11]

Helping Aisha

When Jessie learned that Aisha was missing her language requirement, which had previously been hand waved because of football, she agreed to take Spanish. In Spanish class, when Aisha became discouraged due to conflict with the teacher and lack of identity because she wasn't playing football, Slater encouraged her, saying no one knows who they are in high school. The one thing she thought she knew about herself, being Latina, was being challenged. Slater said he didn't learn Spanish until The College Years and his dad changed their name to sound less Mexican, leading to him sometimes not feeling Mexican enough. When another confrontation with the Spanish teacher led to him being fired, Slater offered to step in until they were able to replace him.[12]

Fake Choking

When Kelly became discouraged upon realizing that many things in her life she'd attributed to fate weren't actually acts of fate, Jessie asked Slater to pretend to choke on a hot dog in an attempt to get Kelly to believe in fate again. This backfired when Kelly figured out what he was doing.[13]

Pranking Krampus and Dance Contest

When they learned that Gil was a spy from Valley and had deleted all their volunteer hours, Slater, Jessie, and Toddman talked to the Valley principal, Pat Krampus, and asked her to talk to the spirit board about getting their hours restored. She refused, saying that Gil was a registered Bayside student, so everything he did was within the rules.

Desperate to get all their hours replaced, Toddman suggested a dance contest, with mandatory participation by all students. While this was being organized, Slater and Jessie went to Valley to prank Krampus. While Krampus was out of her office, Jessie moved everything in her calendar by half an hour so she'd be late to everything while Slater put a trick pen on her desk. When they heard her coming, they had to hide in the vents. While they were up there, they saw Krampus realize her calendar was messed up and quickly fix it. Then she got ink on her shirt from the trick pen, forcing her to change. While her shirt was off, the superintendent walked in, followed by his wife, who immediately accused them of having an affair and ran off. The superintendent then told Krampus he was mad that she'd forced his hand and said things were over between them. Jessie and Slater then went back to Bayside.

At the dance contest, Slater and Jessie danced together. They agreed that maybe they weren't so wrong together back in high school, but Jessie became uncomfortable with the conversation and left. However, she later found him after the dance contest was over and kissed him.[14]

Spirit Competition

While they were kissing, Slater pulled back and asked Jessie if it was a bad idea, what they were doing. Jessie asked who cared, but he said he was trying to be more thoughtful about things. He wanted to think more about it. Jessie said she didn't want to think more about it and left. Things were awkward between them as the school prepare for the Spirit Competition.

Finally, at the Spirit Competition, Jessie confronted Slater and said she was a catch, so if anyone was a bad idea, it was him. He said that he didn't say she was a bad idea, but maybe them leaping into something was. They'd done it so many times before and it always blew up.

After the Spirit Competition was over, with Bayside taking him the win, Jessie found Slater in the parking lot. He said he wasn't planning to go to The Max because he figured she would. She said she didn't want things to be awkward between them. She said he was right that it was a bad idea. He asked her who cared and stepped forward to kiss her.[15]

Personality

Slater was originally written as Zack's rival for Kelly's affection before becoming Zack's best friend in the show's second season and developing an attraction to strong-willed feminist Jessie Spano.

Jessie often criticizes A.C. for his insensitive remarks, particularly about women and usually calls him a "Pig" for it. When they first met, he called Zack "Preppy," as a derogatory term, but as they grew closer, it became an affectionate nickname. When he starts dating Jessie, he calls her "Mama", to her occasional annoyance. Mario Lopez is a drummer and dancer and some episodes include Slater showcasing these talents.

Relationships

Romantic

Jessie Spano

See also Slater & Jessie

Friendships

Zack Morris

He and Zack are best friends.

Kelly Kapowski

Lisa Turtle

Screech Powers

Tori Scott

Leslie Bruke

Alex Tabor

Mike Rogers

Ronald Toddman

Appearances

Saved by the Bell

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style

Saved by the Bell: The College Years

Season 1

Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas

Saved by the Bell (2020)

Season 1

Season 2

Gallery

22galeria.png A.C. Slater has a photo gallery.

Trivia

  • Much like co-star Lark Voorhies, Lopez was cast in a role that was originally written to be white. The issue of Slater's ethnicity is addressed in an episode from Saved by the Bell: the College Years, where he had a fight with his father over Anglo conformity. Slater's original family name was Sanchez, and his father changed his name to Slater in order to better his chances of getting accepted to West Point. This angered the younger Slater, who accused his father of forgetting his Mexican heritage.
  • He used to be a Bus Boy in Bolivia.[16]
  • His favorite band is Train.[17]
  • He has been a Football Coach at Bayside High for 15 years.
  • Slater's Valley Counterpart is Coach Nader.
  • His password is Sports123.[18]

References

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