MIAMI (AP) - Nick Saban returned to his former NFL home and insisted he’s not looking for another one.
The Alabama coach was back at Sun Life Stadium _ where he coached the Miami Dolphins in 2005 and 2006 _ for the BCS title game media day event Saturday. The second-ranked Crimson Tide (12-1) faces No. 1 Notre Dame (12-0) on Monday night there for the national title.
“I don’t have any unfinished business in the NFL,” Saban said. “I have a job right now and I want to do the best job that I possibly can for this team, right now. … That’s not something that I’m concerned about. It’s not something I’m thinking about; it’s not even something that I want to do. I want to be a college coach.”
Of course, Saban sometimes changes his mind.
And nowhere has that been more chronicled than Miami.
It was Dec. 21, 2006, when Saban spoke at the Dolphins‘ facility after his team practiced and, after weeks of trying to denounce reports that Alabama intrigued him as “rumor and innuendo,” he offered his most emphatic denial of the entire process.
“I guess I have to say it. I’m not going to be the Alabama coach,” Saban said that day, an oft-repeated quote.
Less than two weeks later, Saban was the Alabama coach.
“I’m kind of excited for the opportunity that our team has,” Saban said. “It’s really about our team and this game. We’re always happy to come back to South Florida. We have some great relationships here and some very fond memories of being here. But right now, we’ve recruited and worked to develop this team for a long, long time, and it’s really a lot more about them being here … than it is anything that’s happened in my past.”
Saban walked onto the field about 9:30 a.m. Saturday, not even seeming to take a look around at the facility where he went 9-7 in home games with the Dolphins. He walked down the visitors’ sideline to his assigned booth, shook a couple hands with game staff and spoke with reporters for an hour.
“It’s good to be back,” said Alabama assistant coach Jeff Stoutland, a former coach at the University of Miami _ which also uses Sun Life as its home field. “But it’s a business trip for us. We’ve got a schedule and we’re sticking to that schedule.”
The Dolphins went 6-10 in Saban’s final season in Miami, the only sub-.500 record that one of his teams has posted in his 19 seasons as a head coach. He lost 17 games in two seasons with the Dolphins; he’s lost 13 in nearly six full seasons with the Crimson Tide and is now trying for his third BCS national title in four seasons.
“I’m not looking for new challenges,” Saban said. “I’m just trying to take advantage of helping the challenging situation that we have and continue to be successful.”