Nick Saban Regrets the Way He Left Miami, but Doesn’t See Himself Anywhere but Alabama Right Now

December 18, 2012 – 7:40 am by Steven Cuce

Nick Saban is making his return to South Florida for the BCS National Championship game on Jan. 3rd against Notre Dame. Miami sports fans haven’t forgotten about the former Dolphins head coach who left the organization when he took the job as the head coach at Alabama.

Saban was asked about his sudden departure from the Dolphins in the following interview, and he’s honest about his regrets.

Nick Saban joined 790 The Ticket in Miami on The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz to discuss his biggest regret after leaving the Miami Dolphins, choosing Drew Brees over Daunte Culpepper originally before Brees didn’t pass his physical, the chances of him coming back to coach in the NFL and enjoying more of the success he has sustained at Alabama.

If I gave you a chance to do a do over for something you did while coaching for the Miami Dolphins, what would you do?

“I think the biggest thing was probably not handling the way I left very well. 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 make mistakes; we all learn about ourselves. As much as I respected the players and the organization, the things we tried to do there, this has been a good thing for my family to be here. College football has been very good for us. I really enjoy the relationships that you have with players, the positive impact that you can have on these young men as players and as people, as well as academically, and see them have careers and help them try to develop careers as football players. That’s just something that we really enjoy and something that I learned about myself. It’s been a good thing here and we are looking forward to the challenge that we have coming up against Notre Dame. We’re also looking forward to coming back to South Florida. A lot of great relationships there. A lot of great people have been very, very good to us there and we are looking forward to it.”

Do you think you would still be here in Miami if you chose Drew Brees over Daunte Culpepper?

“We chose Drew Brees. I’ve never ever talked about this publicly, [but] I think a lot of players know this. There was a lot of loyalty in the organization and players never talked about it. We thought Drew Brees was an outstanding player and that’s who we made the first offer to. Quite frankly, you know, he didn’t pass the physical with our organization, so we had to go in another direction and there was nothing any of us could do about that.”

Would you ever come back and coach in the NFL?

“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 and will be able to continue to have success.”

You don’t seem to be enjoying your success in Alabama. Where’s the joy?

“It’s here. It’s here. It’s kind of funny … when we win, I’m the happiest guy in the world.  Maybe I don’t always show it and maybe I’m always worried about the next game. I’m happy, I’m very, very happy. I’m very pleased and happy with what we’ve been able to accomplish here and all the people who contributed to make that happen — our coaching staff and all the good players that we have had, the tremendous commitment we’ve had from this institution and the athletics department to set the table and again have success. There’s a lot of people involved in it. We have a really good team. I am happy with it. My wife always tell me to smile more and I wouldn’t think it’s unusual for you guys to think I should smile more.”

Listen to Nick Saban on 790 The Ticket in Miami here [Interview begins at the 1:04:00 mark of the podcast]

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