It didn’t take long for Nick Saban to realize that he had made a mistake accepting a head coaching job in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins.
At the end of the 2004 season that concluded with a 9-3 record, Saban left his post in Baton Rouge with LSU to jump the ranks. But he began to understand the difference between college and the modernized professional culture on Day 1.
“Well, the day I landed in Miami and went to the first press conference,” Saban said Thursday evening, according to AL.com. “I started to realize the difference between the NFL then and what the NFL was like before when I was in it with Bill Belichick from 1991-94 in Cleveland, before we had free agency, before the media had infiltrated sorta everything that was happening. I guess right then.”
That wasn’t a big enough warning sign to leave South Beach right away, however. There was another outlier that drove him to leave South Beach: the inability to control his own destiny. When Drew Brees failed his physical with Miami, he ended up in New Orleans and the Dolphins signed Daunte Culpepper. (Hint: that didn’t work.)
He stayed for two seasons before infamously departing for Alabama.
“When that happened, I said I can’t control my destiny here,” Saban said. “I can’t control my destiny here. There’s too many things that, no matter how hard I work or no matter what I do, I can control my destiny better in college by working hard and making good choices and decisions and creating a good program for players. I think that happening made me lean back to coming back to college.
“But it certainly worked out great,” Saban said, who has won 107 games, including four national titles since moving to Tuscaloosa, “and we’ve been very happy here for 10 years.”