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  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
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    Dolphins head coach Nick Saban accepts University of Alabama job

    After repeated denials, Saban takes Bama job
    ESPN.com news services
    Wednesday, January 3, 2007

    Nick Saban has accepted an offer from Alabama to coach the Crimson Tide and leave the Miami Dolphins, two weeks after declaring "I'm not going to be the Alabama coach."

    Saban's agreement with Alabama is for eight years and a fully-guaranteed $32 million, according to ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli. Saban can potentially earn an additional $700,000 to $800,000 annually in bowl-game bonuses.

    Saban told team owner Wayne Huizenga of his decision in a face-to-face meeting Wednesday morning. Saban then informed all of his coaches by speakerphone that he was leaving the franchise to coach Alabama.

    In a news conference at the team's facility, Huizenga told reporters he was not upset by Saban's departure.

    "It is what it is. We have to move forward," Huizenga said. "We want the best for Nick and [his wife] Terry. I like Nick a lot and think he could have won here. I'm a Nick Saban fan."

    As of late Wednesday morning, Saban was not yet headed to Tuscaloosa for a formal introduction.

    "All indications are that he's coming, but I know they're not in the air yet," an Alabama athletic department official told ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach.

    Saban had issued repeated denials that he was interested in coaching Alabama, one of the most high-profile and high-pressure college coaching jobs in the country. After he turned down the Tide in early December, they offered the job to Rich Rodriguez, but he decided to stay at West Virginia.

    Alabama made a formal offer Monday after rumors swirled for weeks that the Crimson Tide were continuing their pursuit of the former LSU coach, who spent five seasons in Baton Rouge before leaving for the NFL. Saban was 48-16 at LSU and won the 2003 BCS national championship.

    He walks away from the Dolphins with three years left on a deal worth approximately $4.5 million a year.

    In the past, Huizenga has been persuasive when dealing with coaches. He talked Don Shula into retirement in 1996, talked Jimmy Johnson out of retiring three years later -- Johnson lasted one more season -- and was able to lure Saban to the pros in 2004 after other NFL teams had failed.

    But this time, Huizenga failed to change Saban's mind.

    "First of all this was never about money," Huizenga said. "It's never been about money, Nick never talked to me about money, Nick never talked to me about an extension. I honestly believe this was not about money.

    Saban was 15-17 without a playoff appearance in his two seasons as Dolphins coach.

    "In my opinion, the Dolphins have always been about winning. I just want everyone to know that it's really all about winning now," Huizenga said. "I don't care what it takes or what it costs, we're going to make this a winning franchise -- sooner rather than later."

    Alabama began looking for a coach after firing Mike Shula on Nov. 27. The Tide finished the season 6-7, losing to Oklahoma State in the Independence Bowl.

    On Tuesday, Saban asked for and received more time from Huizenga to make a decision, yet Huizenga remained optimistic that Saban would remain with the Dolphins. Saban was given until 10 a.m. Wednesday to make a decision.

    Huizenga said the front office began the process of examining a search for a new coach, but he did not provide further details.

    Possible candidates to replace Saban include Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, former Green Bay head coach Mike Sherman, San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, Indianapolis assistant head coach Jim Caldwell, Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow and Pittsburgh Steelers assistants Russ Grimm and Ken Whisenhut.

    The Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons are also seeking a new coach.

    The Dolphins' next coach will be their fourth in nine seasons, a big change for a franchise that had the same coach -- Don Shula -- for 26 years. Miami has failed to make the playoffs the past five years, a franchise record.

    The Dolphins are coming off their third losing season since 1969 and face a likely roster overhaul. With Daunte Culpepper still struggling to recover from reconstructive knee surgery in 2005, Miami remains unsettled at quarterback, a troublesome position since Dan Marino retired seven years ago. The team needs upgrades in almost every other area for a feeble offense and aging defense.

    Saban leaves behind the NFL's largest staff of assistants and general manager Randy Mueller, who might be given more responsibility under a new coaching regime.

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    Re: Dolphins head coach Nick Saban accepts University of Alabama job

    Now if Saban can lure Jimbo Fisher away from LSU, things are going to be looking good in T-Town
    The Roman and The Prince. Playmakers until the end.


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    BigGameMN's Avatar
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    Re: Dolphins head coach Nick Saban accepts University of Alabama job

    Think whatever you want about Saban, but 'Bama is gonna be competing for a National Championship within 5 years.

  4. #4
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    Re: Dolphins head coach Nick Saban accepts University of Alabama job

    Saban embraces high expectations at Alabama
    ESPN.com news services

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Nick Saban celebrated his return to college football and embraced the championship hopes of Alabama fans on Thursday, a day after getting a festive introduction to the Crimson Tide faithful.

    Nick Saban said Alabama will be his last coaching stop."I know there's tremendous expectations here," Saban said at a news conference. "I can tell you that, however you feel about it, I have even higher expectations for what we want to accomplish. I want to win every game we play."

    Saban, lured to Tuscaloosa by an eight-year package worth a guaranteed $32 million (plus an additional $700,000 to $800,000 annually in bowl-game bonuses), said "my heart was to go back to college" but felt he left the Miami Dolphins in better shape than he found them two years ago despite a 15-17 record.

    "What I realized in the last two years is that we love college coaching because of the ability that it gives you to affect people, young people," he said, with wife Terry and daughter Kristen looking on.

    "If I knew that my heart was someplace else in what I wanted to do, I don't think it would be fair to the organization if I stayed."

    The well-traveled Saban said his next stop would not be another school but retirement to Lake Burton in north Georgia, where he has a home.


    Taking over a program with a rich tradition led by the late coach Bear Bryant, who won five national titles, Saban refused to dwell in the past.

    "It's what you do now," he said.

    The hiring provided a dramatic conclusion to a five-week search to replace the fired Mike Shula.

    "When I set out on this search, I noted that I was seeking a coach who has a proven record of championship success and achievement," athletic director Mal Moore said. "Coach Saban brings that proven record of accomplishment and leadership to our program."

    The Tuscaloosa News put out a special edition Wednesday trumpeting the hiring, with the blaring headline: "SABAN TIME."


    "Mal Moore didn't just hit a home run, he hit a grand slam," raved Tide fan Mike Ryan, sporting a Bryant-style houndstooth hat and a T-shirt listing the program's national championship years.

    The shirt said everything about Alabama's expectations for Saban, whose LSU Tigers shared the 2003 national title. He has a record of 91-42-1 as a college coach at LSU, Michigan State and Toledo, and was 15-17 at Miami.

    Don Shula's take
    Miami Dolphins legendary coach Don Shula told ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike that he wasn't too thrilled about the way Alabama dismissed his son as coach -- or the way Nick Saban left the Dolphins. Listen
    And that's not all. Shula told the Miami Herald:

    That Saban let the Dolphins down: "He has run away from the challenge."

    That Saban lied: "It's unbelievable. There were four or five direct statements that were blatant lies. That tells you a little bit about the guy."

    That Saban quit: "That's obvious. He quit. He left."

    That Saban is a fraud: "What other conclusion can you draw? The guy likes to hear himself talk and then doesn't follow up on what he says."

    Saban is the most high-profile coach the Tide has hired since Bryant's retirement after the 1982 season, a steady stream that has included such names as Bill Curry, Mike DuBose and Shula.

    Neither Shula nor DuBose -- both former Tide players -- had been a head coach.

    "The last few hires were somewhat unknown going back to Mike DuBose," said Lee Roy Jordan, a former 'Bama and NFL star. "We knew him as a player at Alabama and as an assistant coach but he never had any experience when he got the job.

    "We feel like we got a proven coach that can win an SEC and national title. That's the No. 1 thing for me."

    The Tide first approached Saban shortly after firing Shula on Nov. 27. After Saban turned down the job in early December, the university offered it to Rich Rodriguez, who decided to stay at West Virginia.

    Saban punctuated weeks of denials with this declaration two weeks ago: "I'm not going to be the Alabama coach."

    He clearly had a change of heart, leaving Miami with three years remaining on his contract at $4.5 million a year.

    Alabama lost to Oklahoma State in the Independence Bowl to finish 6-7, the team's second losing season in the four years since Shula's hiring. Now, the Tide has its fourth head coach since 2000 and eighth since Bryant's last season in 1982.

    The timing was significant since the NCAA's recruiting "dead period" ends Friday.

    "We have been through a period of uncertainty the last month or so and we finally have some stability," Tide center Antoine Caldwell said. "Coach Moore said all along he was going to find us a proven coach with a winning record and he has done that with coach Saban.

    "I feel like he is the right man for the job and he will be good in getting Alabama back on track."

    Tide quarterback John Parker Wilson believes Saban can win quickly with the team Shula left behind.

    "He has won a lot of football games and he won the national championship at LSU," Wilson said. "That makes it even more exciting for us. We have a lot of guys coming back on offense and I think we have an excellent chance to make a run at it, especially with coach Saban."

  5. #5
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    Re: Dolphins head coach Nick Saban accepts University of Alabama job

    Nick Saban, the Larry Brown of football.

  6. #6
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    Re: Dolphins head coach Nick Saban accepts University of Alabama job

    I really have absolutely no respect for Saban at this point. He spent weeks berating reporters to the point of being downright rude when they tried to ask him about this, going so far as to at one point say "I guess I have to say it: I am not going to be the Alabama coach." He handled this situation about as poorly as one could handle it, and showed a lot about himself in the process. Seems he criticized the Dolphins front office on the way out as well. Classy.
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  7. #7
    RAMFANRAIDERHATER's Avatar
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    Re: Dolphins head coach Nick Saban accepts University of Alabama job

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I really have absolutely no respect for Saban at this point. He spent weeks berating reporters to the point of being downright rude when they tried to ask him about this, going so far as to at one point say "I guess I have to say it: I am not going to be the Alabama coach." He handled this situation about as poorly as one could handle it, and showed a lot about himself in the process. Seems he criticized the Dolphins front office on the way out as well. Classy.
    Couldn't agree more Nick. What is so hard about telling the truth? Why couldn't the jerk have said; "I'm not talking about it", or, "I have no comment", instead of blatantly lying? What gain is there in lying through your teeth? If you ask me, he's a lying, gutless, self-centered jerk. Personally, I couldn't care less about Alabama football, but now that they hired this jerk, I'll be sure to pull against them every chance I can. I hope the program drops further into the toilet.

    Guys like this make me sick.
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

  8. #8
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Dolphins head coach Nick Saban accepts University of Alabama job

    This really is a pretty disgusting story related to the Saban/Alabama situation...


    'Little Bear' Bryant crosses line again in denying UAB
    By Gregg Doyel
    Dec. 26, 2006
    CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer

    A ghost from the grave is running the Alabama football program ... and running the program at UAB into the dirt.

    Oh, wait. That's no ghoul. It's not Bear Bryant, who died in 1983.

    It's his son, Paul Bryant Jr.

    Little Bear wouldn't return messages from CBS SportsLine.com, so this will just have to be said without a rebuttal: Paul Bryant Jr., with a murky background and clear conflict of interest, has no business exerting influence over the football program at UAB.

    We'll get to Little Bear's background in a minute, but for now, understand something. The UAB football program just made the most dreadful hire of the offseason, hiring someone with questionable experience and character. His name is Neil Callaway, the offensive coordinator at Georgia, which you might have noticed was horrible this season on offense. The last thing Callaway did of note was plead guilty to DUI charges in 2003.

    This is the new UAB coach. He's a lousy choice. Which is apparently what Little Bear wanted.

    Little Bear sits on the University of Alabama Board of Trustees. From there, he wields all sorts of authority over Alabama and its state step-sister, UAB. Little Bear, who once gave $10 million to the Crimson Tide athletics department, is close friends with Alabama AD Mal Moore, who keeps his job despite a proven inability to pick a quality football coach.

    What happens to Alabama football, however, is not our concern. Bear Bryant Sr. built the Crimson Tide into the South's most fearsome franchise, and if his boy tears it all the way down, well, there is symmetry in that.

    What has happened this month to UAB, however, is an outrage. Essentially, Little Bear's Board of Trustees blocked UAB from hiring the football coach it wanted. Twice. And the second time, Little Bear's Board stopped UAB from hiring the coach it wanted because, presumably, the coach UAB wanted -- Jimbo Fisher -- might also be wanted by Alabama.

    Ugly, but that's the deal, based on SportsLine.com conversations with sources close to the situation.

    After being blocked by the Board of Trustees in its quest to promote assistant coach Pat Sullivan, who became head coach at Samford, UAB turned to LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher. UAB and Fisher agreed on basic contractual terms, with half of Fisher's annual UAB salary -- ballpark: $600,000 -- to be subsidized by private boosters.

    UAB was going to get the coach it wanted, a coach whose rumored arrival already was waking up the comatose UAB football program -- yet would have been on the hook for less salary than ex-coach Watson Brown, who made $375,000. It was perfect.

    Little Bear's Board of Trustees said no. You want to know why? So do I, but Little Bear wouldn't return my messages. So here's the theory I'm working on, a theory based on conversations with multiple sources with a vested interest in UAB football:

    Alabama also is in search of a football coach. The Crimson Tide has gone a month without one, raising the obvious possibility that its next coach has been selected but cannot be unveiled. Someone like, say, Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban, whose NFL acumen is debatable but college resume (Michigan State, LSU) is beyond reproach.

    When he was at LSU, Saban's offensive coordinator was Jimbo Fisher. If he's going to return to college football, his choice for offensive coordinator would likely be Fisher. By making Fisher its head coach, UAB would have stood in the way of that, making the Alabama job less attractive to Saban. Alabama can't afford that.

    And who does UAB think it is, anyway? The Board of Trustees did the Blazers a favor in 1996 by letting them become a Division I-A football program, but magnanimity has its limits, and for Little Bear's Board, this was a line UAB was not going to cross.

    Little Bear's board told UAB it would not approve the hiring of Jimbo Fisher.

    What kind of man is capable of such a plot? Not sure. But here's the kind of man Little Bear is:

    He made a fortune from dog tracks, including the notorious track at Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, which closed in 1995 after reports of monstrous dog abuse. He's a catfish kingpin whose farm processes 700,000 pounds per week. He's a Civil War buff who has been a ranking member of the controversial Sons of Confederate Veterans, which "is dedicated to the promotion of traditional Southern ideals ... to hold in perpetual remembrance all that was great and good."

    Yeesh.

    In 1989 Bryant was quoted in Esquire as describing the clientele at his Alabama dog track as "a low-class, low-income crowd ... generally your lower class of blacks, your welfare blacks, you want 'em to have enough room to get in and out, but at the same time you want to get as many in as possible."

    In 2000 the Legislative Black Caucus seized on those comments to try to block his appointment to the Board of Trustees. Little Bear said Esquire invented the quotes. Little Bear got his way -- he got onto the Board of Trustees.

    UAB has the football coach to show for it.
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