Nick Saban: ‘It was a huge mistake to leave college football’
In 2004, Nick Saban made a decision that impacted the rest of his coaching career.
After five seasons at LSU — and 11 seasons as a college head coach — Saban decided it was time to lead an NFL team. So, he left the college ranks to become the head coach of the Miami Dolphins for the 2005 season.
But after going 15-17 in two years leading the Dolphins, Saban returned to his roots — college football. And the rest is history, as Saban has led Alabama since 2007, making it one of the most dominant programs in the country.
Looking back on it now, however, Saban thinks he never should have left college football to begin with.
“As it turns out, what I learned from that experience in hindsight was, it was a huge mistake to leave college football,” Saban told the USA Today Network in a recently revisited interview. “And I know a lot of LSU fans think I left for whatever reasons, but I left because I wanted to be a pro coach, or thought I wanted to be a pro coach. We loved LSU. We worked hard to build the program. If there was one thing professionally that I would do over again, it would’ve been not to leave LSU.”
Saban’s five-year stint at LSU has been back in the news as it was reported Tuesday that he would be getting inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
It may have been a brief tenure with the Tigers, but Saban turned around a struggling program. He went 48-16 over five seasons, which included going 13-1 and winning the national championship in 2003.
If Saban hadn’t left college football, and LSU, like he wishes he hadn’t, that poses an interesting thought — would he still be the Tigers’ coach today if that had happened? We’ll never know the answer, but it’s possible that decision changed the course of both LSU’s and Alabama’s programs.