FanDuel - WFBC

January 03, 2007

Nick Saban to leave Dolphins for Alabama: Nick Saban is 'Bama bound. Ending five weeks of speculation and two days of deliberation, Saban accepted the Alabama coaching job and abandoned his bid to rebuild the Miami Dolphins after only two seasons.

posted by bluesdog to football at 11:25 AM - 47 comments

It's now official -- Nick Saban is a lying sack of shit. You know what would make this story complete? If the University of Alabama suffered greatly in the recruiting department because every potential player said, "Gee, I'd love to wear the Crimson, but how can I believe any of the promises of playing time and future glory you're making when your head coach is demonstrably a lying sack of shit?" Won't happen, but I can dream.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:41 AM on January 03

If you are an NFL owner you have to learn from recent history -- college coaches who jump straight to the NFL without pro coaching experience don't pan out so well. Steve Spurrier, Butch Davis, Dennis Erickson, Pete Carroll and now Saban. There may be others I'm forgetting. Jimmy Johnson is the exception to the rule. And I guess you could make an argument for Tom Coughlin. It's a different reality in the pro game. Teaching and mentoring is lost on those huge paychecks. Joe Theisman had an interesting observation on ESPNews -- how will Saban talk to recruits about making a commitment to Alabama after this? Probably won't be too hard but it's a fair point.

posted by bluesdog at 11:45 AM on January 03

An interesting take from FOXSports's John Czarnecki.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:50 AM on January 03

Owners do the same thing and so do colleges. They say a coach has their full confidence and then immediately fire him after the season. Further, Saban probably had one year left to make it a success in Miami - since NFL teams are on a max three year plan for a turn around. That's pretty difficult considering all the uncertainty surrounding the team. I don't blame him one bit for making this decision. Further, the beautiful recruiting spin is that he always loved teaching college kids and now he has plenty of NFL contacts.

posted by bperk at 11:52 AM on January 03

The talking heads on ESPN got it right - Saban is in love with being courted. If he is successful at Alabama, look for him to jump ship to another program in 3 years.

posted by FonGu at 12:06 PM on January 03

I just think this is a classic example of a Head Coach that knew in his heart that no matter what he did, said or tried with the Miami Dolphins, they just weren't going anywhere next year or the year after. The best thing he could've done for his ego was to skip out on the NFL and jump right back into the college trenches where he is more at ease and has more say with the players. This should speak volumes to any owner that tries to sway a big name college coach into joining an NFL team. Like Public Enemy once said, Don't believe the hype!

posted by BornIcon at 12:19 PM on January 03

Owners do the same thing and so do colleges. Attribution? Links? And I can't recall a situation where a coach was so vehement in his denial of interest in a job, and then within two weeks was at that same job.

posted by wfrazerjr at 12:23 PM on January 03

What Saban did was really despicable mainly because of the huge vote of confidence Huizenga gave him and how accommodating Huizenga was to Saban's needs. Even though some people claim he might have been in the hot seat in three years, I doubt that would be the case. Saban was left with a franchise that was driven to the ground by former coach Dave Wannstedt (4 years and on a track way worse than Saban was) and seemed to be turning a few things around. To me, it seems like he felt the job was beyond him and jumped ship because he wanted the easy way out. I very much doubt this will affect Saban's ability to recruit (he is still at a premier program with an excellent college record) save for this year because he's coming into the race a little late (national signing day is right around the corner). My question is, how does this affect DE Jason Taylor? Taylor was already contemplating retirement. Could the idea of having to learn a new defensive system/scheme be enough to push him over the fence?

posted by PublicUrinal at 12:53 PM on January 03

And I can't recall a situation where a coach was so vehement in his denial of interest in a job, and then within two weeks was at that same job. Is there any correct way to handle the denial? I would suppose he was concerned about retaining his position with the Dolphins if Alabama did not offer him a job. I would have done the same as Saban given the circumstances. It is refreshing to see a coach stick it to an owner for a change. I like Nick Saban. I think he is a great coach. I wish him well.

posted by danjel at 12:57 PM on January 03

Owners do the same thing and so do colleges. Attribution? Links? And I can't recall a situation where a coach was so vehement in his denial of interest in a job, and then within two weeks was at that same job. The Alabama AD said he had confidence in Mike Shula then fired him two weeks later. Herm Edwards denied all last season that he was going to Kansas City and did anyway. Everyone suspected as much, but Herm kept denying it. Saban couldn't really admit that he would consider other positions that would be disloyal. Once the season is over, he can think

posted by bperk at 01:11 PM on January 03

Some individuals on this thread are ignorant sacks of shit!! At least they know how to spell Huizenga and Saban, dude. Did anyone notice that the report referenced "It is what it is", uttered by Huizenga today, as "Saban's pet phrase"? Apparently reporters in every town think that their coach coined this expression. I know Dan Shaughnessy has claimed this is the ultimate Bill Belichick-ism, and a current FPP out of Pittsburgh attributes the phrase to Bill Cowher...

posted by Venicemenace at 01:13 PM on January 03

What was Saban supposed to say? Don't we remember how Jim Mora was viewed for he said. Put it this way. If you heard that your job could be downsized (fired) in a year or so, and you were looking to (possibly) leave your job for better one, and your boss heard the rumor, and asked you if you were going to leave, which way would you answer: A.) Yeah, boss. I am looking to get out of here soon, if the offer is right. But if I don't get offered that job, I would love to stay here. *or* B.) I don't know what you are talking about. I am committed to staying here. Oh, that. Just a rumor. I don't know about the rest of you, but almost everyone I knew in this situation first answered B.) and then gave two weeks notice shortly after the new job offer came through. Just my view on this thing.

posted by Dikky Moe at 01:23 PM on January 03

Bluesdog: Pete Caroll, Butch Davis and Tom Coughlin all had significant experience as NFL assistant coaches and even as coordinators, so they're hardly the good examples to support your claim. In fact Carroll was an NFL assistant/coordinator for 10 years before getting the Jets job and then was a defensive coordinator again for several seasons before getting the Patriots job. Davis was an assistant and then coordinator with the Cowboys under Switzer and Jimmy Johnson. Coughlin was a wide receivers coach in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles, and later the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants.

posted by billsaysthis at 01:31 PM on January 03

The iceberg routine works when you can threaten someone's playing time (or even a scholarship) but when the bench warmers are going to get their paychecks whether they win or not, it's probably not going to go over well. He just wasn't suited for the pro game. So, I think Saban is a better fit in the college ranks. There you can make mentally imbalanced defensive tackles cry and no one will call you a bully. More power to him for getting an outrageous amount of money in the process.

posted by forrestv at 02:00 PM on January 03

People will get over this whole thing very quickly. It's not like Dolphin fans had all that much to fall in love with with regards to Saban at this point. The team really hasn't done too much. As for going to Alabama, money talks, and that, combined with going back to college football, made the decision probably fairly obvious for Saban. I fully expect he will ultimately bring success back to Alabama. Why anyone would ever want to go to the NFL and leave the relative security (in comparison to the NFL) college football generally offers is beyond me. If Mike Shula could last four years down there, Saban can probably do 12 or so standing on his head!

posted by dyams at 02:01 PM on January 03

I am a Dolphins fan since 5 years old, and I am a vengeful, unforgiving son of a bitch, so I hope that Nick Saban falls on his face so badly that Alabama cancels football seaosn. I'd love to scream about loyalty, but forty million bucks? Sigh.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 02:12 PM on January 03

Saban came into a team without a quarterback or any real depth of talent on offence and with an ageing defence. He leaves with a lot of questions at quarterback, some promise in Ronnie Brown, but little else on offence and with an ageing defence... Where the team goes for a coach now, I don't know but the bigger problem may be that all of the keys were given to Saban - everything in the organisation was directed in to him at the top and now he's gone. This means that the team's coaching and office infrastructures probably have be changed too. This isn't just a case of hiring a guy to come in and be the new coach. As a fan, I might be happier if the Dolphins decided to bite the bullet on losing for a year, let go the 30-or-so free agents the team has, add a very solid draft from the #9 slot and get a lot younger while adding a lot of room under the cap. At least then you have a team that a new coach can take in any direction. We have an example of a sudden turn around in our division, but to make the turn you have to stop where you're going.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 02:19 PM on January 03

The Alabama AD said he had confidence in Mike Shula then fired him two weeks later. Here's the exact quote from the Alabama AD: "The raise and extension we recently awarded Coach Shula indicated our confidence in him," Moore wrote. "Nothing I could say would make a stronger statement than that." That's mealy-mouthed and absolutely nothing like Saban's near-tirade during a press conference at benig asked whether he was going to Alabama or not. This was also before the Crimson Tide lost their final three games of the season, something which would understandably shake the confidence of any athletic director. I also think there's a pretty wide gulf between an employer saying, "We have confidence in his ability to do the job," and your employee emphatically and publicly saying, "I'm not going anywhere!" If I were Wayne Huizenga, I would have fired Saban on Monday, just as the columnist I linked earlier, John Czarnecki, said. Take your lying and your big-assed ego and hit the bricks, jackass.

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:20 PM on January 03

How about the impact of this on the SEC? Notwithstanding Arkansas' emergence this year, I think the SEC West was largely becoming a perennial two-horse race between Auburn and LSU. I think this changes that dynamic greatly, because Saban has the ability to keep even a mediocre program in contention. As an LSU fan, I don't feel betrayed at all by this move, but it does scare me. All that said, I wonder if down the road Saban will feel he would have been better off staying at LSU. The Alabama job brings a lot of scrutiny and pressure and you are forever in the shadow of, and being compared to, Bear Bryant. At LSU he probably could have worked his way up to comparable money (he was already the highest-paid college coach when he left), expectations are somewhat lower, and he could have had the chance to be the one name that was synonymous with coaching greatness in that state/at that university.

posted by holden at 02:44 PM on January 03

Sorry Dolphin Fans!!! Looks like another losing season for you'll. Jason Taylor might as well retire now.

posted by tekrebs at 04:11 PM on January 03

Jason Taylor might as well retire now. Yea, I'm sure he will... And end up playing with the Patriots by week 3 of 2007 season...

posted by myshtigo at 04:50 PM on January 03

Every employee has the right to make the best deal and situation for himself and his family. Sabin just got offered a deal he couldn't refuse. Seven words he couldn't walk away from. The Highest Paid Coach in College Sports! Probably makes the 4.5 million he was getting look like chump change not to mention better security and guarantee. The way pro owners fire coaches, the way the NFL draft and scheduling ensures parity, don't be surprised if more pro coaches jump to the college ranks since the NFL is geared to making success difficult to impossible to maintain.

posted by Atheist at 05:00 PM on January 03

Lets put it in perspective: Nick Saban is a whore! Always has been and always will be. (No offense intended to others that may fall under the category- present company included)

posted by urall cloolis at 05:09 PM on January 03

Jason Taylor might as well retire now. Yea, I'm sure he will... And end up playing with the Patriots by week 3 of 2007 season... To which the Cave_Man replies: Oh yeah!!! Then he would know what playing PRO football is like and what being in a program where your mates give a shit is like. Not to mention the Super Bowl rings that he would be able to show his grandkids. Gotta go. The Cod and baked beans are ready.

posted by Cave_Man at 05:57 PM on January 03

Saban is likely to find that the grass isn't greener in Alabama. Their boosters and alum are in the top 10 for collegic pains in the arse. They want another Bear, and they wanted him yesterday. Saban will be forced to produce quickly or they will send him out the door.

posted by FonGu at 06:00 PM on January 03

I freely admit to being more of a fan of college basketball than football. I know that in basketball there are some programs that are just special, because of history, tradition, being in a part of the country that is basketball crazy. My list of those jobs, from east to west; Duke, UNC, Kentucky, Indiana, Kansas, UCLA. Is there a list like that in football? If there is I would have to think Alabama would be on it. Notre Dame, of course. Ohio St., Oklahoma, Southern Cal, Nebraska. Texas, I guess. Maybe Michigan. Miami? FSU?

posted by gradioc at 06:00 PM on January 03

Wow Cave_Man, that was clever. You should write for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

posted by forrestv at 06:06 PM on January 03

Atheist wrote: Every employee has the right to make the best deal and situation for himself and his family. Sabin just got offered a deal he couldn't refuse. Seven words he couldn't walk away from. The Highest Paid Coach in College Sports! Probably makes the 4.5 million he was getting look like chump change not to mention better security and guarantee. The way pro owners fire coaches, the way the NFL draft and scheduling ensures parity, don't be surprised if more pro coaches jump to the college ranks since the NFL is geared to making success difficult to impossible to maintain. posted by Atheist at 5:00 PM CST on January 3 To which the Cave Dude retorts: Then you do you explain the New England Patriots, The modern Steelers, the 80s-90's Cowboys? All have to deal with parity and have managed to field teams that won on a regular basis, including winning it all.

posted by Cave_Man at 06:06 PM on January 03

Modern Steelers? Dude, they won the super bowl once and missed the playoffs this year.

posted by jmd82 at 06:18 PM on January 03

Alabama. Their boosters and alum are in the top 10 for collegic pains in the arse. Hey FonGu, is that a fact from some source or is that just an exaggerated opinion? And who are the other 9 schools?

posted by danjel at 06:19 PM on January 03

jmd82 wrote: Modern Steelers? Dude, they won the super bowl once and missed the playoffs this year. posted by jmd82 at 6:18 PM CST on January 3 The reply is: Correct. BUT, they have had a winning program for the last seven or so years, a couple times being the first or second playoff seed. That is success in my book. No PRO franchise can expect to win every year, but those that field winning teams one to two years of a 3 year period are successful franchises. If high draft choices were the only determinant for success, then teams like Detroit and Arizona should be powerhouses, but they are not and have not been for a decade or more. One question for you jmd82. How successful would you rate the Buffalo Bills of the 80-90's? They lost four straight Super Bowls.

posted by Cave_Man at 07:05 PM on January 03

More successful over a stretch of time than the Steelers. To me, one successful Super Bowl one does not automatically make the previous 3-4 years that much more impressive at all. Bills made it to the SB 4 years in a row; Steelers made it once this decade so far.

posted by jmd82 at 07:52 PM on January 03

Alabama. Their boosters and alum are in the top 10 for collegic pains in the arse. ---- Hey FonGu, is that a fact from some source or is that just an exaggerated opinion? And who are the other 9 schools? posted by danjel Not sure how you'd create such a list as fact, but there is no doubt Alabama is near the top. I'm sure there are others as bad, but I seriously doubt it gets much worse.

posted by justgary at 10:56 PM on January 03

FonGu writes: Saban is likely to find that the grass isn't greener in Alabama. Their boosters and alum are in the top 10 for collegic pains in the arse. They want another Bear, and they wanted him yesterday. Saban will be forced to produce quickly or they will send him out the door. Amen, and amen. You want proof? Dig up some local media from the last month or so. This story has been TOP NEWS ever since the Auburn-Alabama game back in November. (Oh God how they wanted Spurrier!) Alabama (the state) doesn't have any professional teams, so all of that rabid fanaticism and pride is funneled into college sports.

posted by somethingotherthan at 11:32 PM on January 03

How does an 18 year old boy for whom Paul "Bear" Bryant is ancient history answer this question: Why play at Alabama? Why should top flight Florida high school football talents leave to play there? He should hire Jim Mora Jr. as one of his coaches. They deserve each other.

posted by Newbie Walker at 01:20 AM on January 04

As a Dolphins fan I'm disappointed about Saban, not because he was accomplishing anything, but because he still had time on his contract and his bailing out is just one more brick to the head. Every time it seems like the Dolphins and their fans have something to get optimistic/excited about (ricky, new head coaches, ricky again, culpepper...) we get smacked upside the head. I, for one, am getting a headache. Maybe the next coach's contract will be a little harder to get out of.

posted by captaincavegirl at 02:43 AM on January 04

Their boosters and alum are in the top 10 for collegic pains in the arse. danjel, I will agree with justgary in that a list would be hard to compile. But for support to my statement look here.

posted by FonGu at 04:52 AM on January 04

Thanks for the link FonGu. Interesting read.

posted by danjel at 07:27 AM on January 04

Saban is likely to find that the grass isn't greener in Alabama. Their boosters and alum are in the top 10 for collegic pains in the arse. They want another Bear, and they wanted him yesterday. Saban will be forced to produce quickly or they will send him out the door. That's the beauty of his contract. It is guaranteed money. So, when they get antsy and fire him because he didn't win a championship in three years, he ends up with $32 mil anyway.

posted by bperk at 07:39 AM on January 04

One can only hope Miami Dolphins hire Mike Mularky as there next head coach. Squish the fish!!!!!

posted by skideed at 07:40 AM on January 04

How does an 18 year old boy for whom Paul "Bear" Bryant is ancient history answer this question: Why play at Alabama? Why should top flight Florida high school football talents leave to play there? Couldn't you say the same thing about LSU, who had 8 losing seasons out of 11 before Saban showed up, and turned them into perenial contenders? (including 2 SEC championships and a national championship in that stretch) As for Saban's leaving, the bad part was the WAY in which he denied he was leaving. He didn't say it the way other coaches say it when they intend to leave. He basically said "don't insult me by asking. I have no intentions/desires/plans to leave". No one begrudges him leaving to a better situation if that is truely what he wants to do, it was just handled poorly on his part. FWIW there's a little rumor going around that Bill Cowher could become the dolphin's coach given their coordinators are guys that used to work for him and Hunzinger is the type of guy who would give him the $8mill/year he's asking for (and Miami is closer to NC than Pittsburgh, weather-wise if not distance wise :-)

posted by bdaddy at 10:02 AM on January 04

Coaches lie on the eve of leaving a job. Tommy Tuberville lied to Ole Miss fans, Nick lied to LSU/Miaimi fans, Roy Williams lied to Kansas fans. It happens. Jerry Jones fired Landry in the Sunday morning paper after he promised not to, so what. That is the nature of the business. People, weather they be football coaches or international bankers, go were the money goes. But this deal has some big implications for a lot of college teams. Stoops, Carroll, Wies, Beamer, and others have clauses in their contracts stipulating how close their respective schools must come to the "highest paid salary". Stoops was number 1, making 2.7 million a year (Saban was once #1 at LSU with 2.1 million per). Bama gave Nick more than a million over the previous high. So a bunch of schools will be forced to up the pay of their head coach by as much as a million dollars. That money will have to come from private donations/boosters. Does anyone think an OU booster is ready to stroke a check to Stoops for a cool mil after the Boise State debacle? Can a program like VT just pencil in an extra 1.1 million to next years budget on a whim? I doubt either are true. Could be some hard line negotions this off season.

posted by r8rh8r27 at 11:19 AM on January 04

Cave Man - The 80 - 90 Cowboys could hardly be considered a modern team in 2007 17 years later. The modern Steelers? Crazy - last year the lowest seed made an incredible run to Superbowl champs, one year later a disaster. Yes the Patriots are the only franchise that has bucked the trend a credit to their organization. Certainly the exception not the rule.

posted by Atheist at 11:54 AM on January 04

Then you do you explain the New England Patriots, The modern Steelers, the 80s-90's Cowboys? All have to deal with parity and have managed to field teams that won on a regular basis, including winning it all. posted by Cave_Man This is utter non-sense. As th god-less one points out, 1980 is not modern. Don't believe me? Go to the club this weekend in clothes you wore in 1980 and see how many birds will fly home with ya. The "modern" NFL began after the 1987 strike. Realistically though, 1993 is a better start date because of the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed then, and recently extended. Since that time only two teams have achieved anything close to what we would call a dynasty: my 98-00 Broncos who won back-to-back titles and the Pats. The Broncos missed the playoffs three str8 years afterwards, and the Pats won three SBs but by a mere 7 points and missed the post season completely for one year during their run. Compared the the Green Bay, Dallas, D.C., San Fran teams of the past, hardly either of the above examples deserve the title "dynasty".

posted by r8rh8r27 at 12:23 PM on January 04

What would you guys say is worse. Leaving a coaching position the way Sabin did recently, or say the Larry brown situation with the Pistons back in what 04'. The situations were alittle different. The Pistons were looking at a playoff run, and Miami was basically dead in the water but personally I would rather a coach leave the way Sabin did, instead of stringing everyone along for months like Brown. He may have thought he was doing things right by his guys by not giving the press anything to go on until the season is over. Im from MSU and have been through Sabin leaving a program early. He was turning things around and there was finally something to get excited about when he went to LSU. Basically the same situation here. He's a money hungry bumm, but still a great football coach. I wish my Spartans still had him.

posted by 1trusparty at 01:28 PM on January 04

I couldn't have said this better myself. Nick Saban didn't have much choice but to deny he would be leaving the Dolphins for Alabama. Sometimes we give a coach like Saban no choice but to lie. If he tells the truth on Dec. 21 and says he is thinking about leaving Miami for Alabama, he gets crushed for allowing his personal ambition to distract an NFL team still playing games. If he dances around the question by reminding everyone "I have a job," he gets crushed for Refusing To Answer The Question. And then he gets accused of being one step out of town.

posted by irunfromclones at 04:59 PM on January 04

A match made in hell. A program and a coach with zero loyalty to anything or anyone...except the almighty dollar.

posted by iamthelummox at 11:17 AM on January 05

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