Nick Saban regrets way he left Dolphins

Nick Saban is a beloved figure in Alabama, but he is widely despised in South Florida. The brilliant football coach left the Miami Dolphins after two seasons to take the coaching job at Alabama. As if ditching the Dolphins after two seasons wasn’t hurtful enough, the departure came after Saban emphatically denied that he was going to leave for Alabama.

“I guess I have to say it. I’m not going to be the Alabama coach,” Saban said at the time. “I don’t control what people say. I don’t control what people put on dot-com or anything else. So I’m just telling you there’s no significance, in my opinion, about this, about me, about any interest that I have in anything other than being the coach here.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve got to respond to rumor and innuendo,” Saban said. “I have no control over that. I’ve stated what my intentions are and they really haven’t changed, so I don’t know what the issue is. And I don’t know why people keep asking about it. What they talk about over there is their business. But what’s happening here is my business and our business, and that’s what we’re focused on.”

Though Saban was true to his word and turned down Bama’s initial overture, he took their second offer (after Rich Rodriguez turned down the job) which made him the highest-paid coach in college football. Obviously he did have some interest in the job if he accepted a few weeks after issuing that denial, which is why many view him as a liar. The subject is so sore that Ron Jaworski said last week he wouldn’t want Saban as his coach because he is a liar.

Saban joined the Dan Le Batard Show on 790 The Ticket in Miami on Monday and expressed regret over the way his exit from the Dolphins went.

“I think the biggest thing was probably not handling the way I left very well,” Saban said on the show, via AL.com. “That’s always been a thing with me that I’ve never felt good about it. The one thing that I don’t have any regret about was the relationship that I had with the players and the job that I did for the Dolphins and Mr. Huizenga. We all learn from ourselves.”

Saban says there was an understanding with team owner Wayne Huizenga that he could return to college if the NFL didn’t seem to work for him.

“He was very understanding of our situation,” Saban said. “I think in that, it was kind of mutually understood that if this is not for you, I would understand it.”

Saban also said he regretted leaving LSU, where he won a national championship in 2003, for the Dolphins. He said that in the context of having little desire to leave Alabama for another job.

“I really enjoy what I’m doing here right now. I’m getting old now. I don’t think we’ve got too many moves left in us. You develop a lot of relationships and loyalties to the players you recruit and the players you have on the team and the people you have in the organization. I don’t think it’s really fair to leave. I regretted when I left LSU because I left a lot of relationships there. Hopefully I’ll be able to stay here for a long, long time.”

Though Saban is viewed by many as a heartless person in light of stories like this one, he did come off as a sincere person who is finally admitting his actions were wrong. Dolphins have been waiting a long time for this sort of apology from him.

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  • LDuncan

    LOL, he’s worried and ashamed about going down in history as a liar. How bout the part where hes a total SELLOUT. He’d leave Bama too if a better deal came along. He has no loyalty to his staff or players. Notice the mention of “not many moves” left in him. To me that screams theres still time for one more if the price is right.

  • Gene

    I believe he meant it at the time he said it because he never expected Bama to come back with such a huge offer.

    He can be called a liar, but he is in the minor leagues compared with Bobby Petrino, who left Louisville right after signing a ten year extension.  Petrino also walked out on the Atlanta Falcons in the middle of a season and notified his players by leaving them an email.

  • Gene

     His opponent in the BCS game, Brian Kelly, held practice in high winds and would not let Declan Sullivan, the student taping the practice, come down from the tower, resulting in his death.  Even Jim Tressel got his guy out of the tower.  Better to be a liar than a ____ you fill in the blanks.

  • LDuncan

    Just checking, story is still about Saban right ? mmk 

  • LDuncan

    Theres an apple, an orange, and a pear. They are all fruit, who cares. Same goes for evil and wrongdoers.

    I think the real underlying story here is whether Saban is gonna bolt to Philly or not next year.

  • Gene

     I am not particularly a Bama or Saban fan, but it is also about Jaws singling him out when he is one of many.  Let’s see if he stays at Bama or goes to Philly or San Diego or another NFL team.  It would not shock me about any of them.  They are all snakeoil salesmen.

  • LDuncan

    Yup agreed. I think Jaws called him out because he is true to the Phins where Saban is still called “Satan”. Funny that after all these years Saban is just now getting around to damage control. He either wants another shot in the NFL or is looking at timeshares on Miami Beach

  • Scrubb

    Too many players have come out against Saban while he was in Miami to all of sudden be exonerated b/c Taylor was on his good side.  To a man, they all say he was a good coach, but WAY too many say he has a terrible personality.  When in doubt, always judge your eyes.  Have you seen him deal with the media, his demeanor on the sidelines?  He looks and acts miserable 95% of the time!  Sorry, he’s trying to cover up for the a-butt he is but I’m not buying it.  
    Some of the greatest dictators on the face of this earth had the extraordinary gift to sway the masses in their favor & Saban has that.  He’s not evil, but just not a good person to his core, and he knows it.  Mark my words, Jerry Jones will come to him after this season with $10M per year.  If he passes up coaching in the greatest league, with the greatest players, in one of the best franchises to stay “comfortable” beating up on the likes of Western Carolina, FAU, Middle Tennessee, etc. then he’s a fraud.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/clarence.parks.581 Clarence Parks

    Ok he left Miami for more money.  This is a free enterprise business.  No one can fault Saban for leaving for more money.  And I tell you this, if you think that there is loyalty any where at the owners level, you better think again.  I was born and raised in Miami and they are my team win or loose, with Saban or Mickey mouse.  Its a job, and if he interviews for another position for more money, hey, I say go for it! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.f.cranmer Lisa Fields Cranmer

    ROLL TIDE ROLL!!! I am a Bama fan and a Saban fan…Bottom line is…..he IS a great coach and just like anyone out here nowadays, it’s all about the money!! if you were offered  the highest paid salary, and loved coaching college ball where you can build and teach, much different than the pros, most people would  take the offer as he did!!! My opinion only, just sayin…..