Saban Learned From his Stint in Miami
By Carlos Pineda
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For all of his collegiate success, the way Nick Saban handled his departure from the Miami Dolphins at the end of 2006 earned him widespread criticism.
Nick Saban has coached three national championship teams, including two in the last three years at Alabama.
Saban, the most successful coach in the BCS era, could become the first coach since Tom Osborne to win three titles in a four-year span when Alabama (12-1) faces undefeated Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7 in South Florida.
Yet for all of his collegiate success, it was the way he handled his departure from the Miami Dolphins organization at the end of the 2006 season that earned him widespread criticism and continued resentment from Dolphins fans.
After denying rumors that he would take the head coaching job at Alabama, Saban eventually became the school's 27th head football coach in January of 2007.
"The biggest thing was probably not handling the way I left very well," Saban said Monday on the Dan LeBatard Show on Miami radio station 790 The Ticket. "That's always been a thing with me that I've never felt good about. The one thing that I don't have any regret about is the relationship that I had with the players, the job we tried to do for the Dolphins and Mr. [Wayne] Huizenga.
"Sometimes you wish you would've done things differently. I think I'm a better person because of that circumstance and situation, I learned a lot from it and I'll just leave it at that."
Saban's tenure in Miami ended with a 15-17 record, but not without controversy. While the Dolphins traded for Daunte Culpepper in 2006, Saban said he preferred free agent Drew Brees and made an offer to him, but "he didn't pass a physical with our organization so we had to go in a different direction."
Upon his arrival in Tuscaloosa, Saban led Alabama to its first national title in 17 years in 2009 and became the first college football coach to win a national championship at two different schools. The Crimson Tide have also won the most games (60) since 2008.
"This has been a really good thing for me and my family to be here," Saban said. "College football has been great for us and I really enjoy the relationships that you have with players."
Rumored to be an NFL candidate, Saban dispelled any notion that he would try his luck in the NFL again.
"I really like what I'm doing right now," he said. "I don't think we've got too many moves left in us. You develop a lot of relationships and loyalties to the players that you recruit and the people that you have in the organization."
He added, "I regretted when I left LSU to some degree because I left a lot of relationships there."
Saban is already in exclusive company with Osborne, Barry Switzer, Bud Wilkinson and Knute Rockne with his three rings. He'll go for number four in South Florida in a few weeks.
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