"I guess I have to say it. I'm not going to be the Alabama coach."
As Miami Dolphins fans, we all know that quote, and the story that follows behind it. Then Dolphins head coach Nick Saban stood in front of the South Florida media and told everyone that there was no chance he would be the head coach at Alabama, a school that was aggressively targeting the former BCS National Championship winning LSU coach. Thirteen days later, Saban announced he was leaving Miami to become the Alabama coach.
A new book, Saban: The Making of a Coach, an unauthorized biography written by Monte Burke, adds more details to the behind-the-scenes deals being made that eventually led to Saban being one of the most hated people among Dolphins fans. As reported by Hal Habib from the Palm Beach Post, the final push to get Saban out of the NFL and back to the college rankings did not come from Saban or from Alabama, but rather from Terry Saban, Nick's wife.
Habib writes that the book tells of Saban having indirectly contacted Alabama - using the then Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore's nephew Chuck Moore, who was a home builder renovating the Saban's Georgia home at the time, to express that Saban was "possibly interested in the Alabama job." Mal Moore headed to Florida as the calendar changed from 2006 to 2007, with the hopes that Saban would meet with him.
Instead, Moore wound up meeting with Terry at the Saban's Fort Lauderdale home; simultaneously, Nick was meeting with then Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga, where it was determined that Saban would stay in Miami. When he left the Dolphins' facilities, Nick called Terry, to tell her that he was going to stay with the Dolphins and that he did not want to meet with Moore.
Terry had already invited Moore for dinner that night, and had convinced Moore that Nick was "miserable in the NFL and dearly missed coaching in college." Terry forcing the meeting and giving Moore the ammunition he needed to convince Nick to head to Alabama proved to be enough to change Nick's mind, and the next day he spoke to Huizenga.
On January 3, Saban announced he was returning to Alabama.
The book, according to Habib's report, will focus primarily on Saban's time at Alabama, but does have plenty of information on his time in Miami. It was a short two-year period in the Dolphins' history, but one fans still remember vividly. Saban's repeated denials of interest in Alabama, including the December 21, 2006 press conference, only to then leave the team he was supposed to be re-building into a champion, ripped apart the fan-base - and led to Cam Cameron becoming the team's head coach for a 1-15 2007 season.