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.