The Alabama media guide ignores two seasons of Nick Saban’s year-by-year coaching career. In his two seasons with the Dolphins, Saban went 9-7 in 2005 and 6-10 in 2006.
On Saturday night, he returns to the stadium where he briefly had a stint as an NFL coach.
“I learned from my experience coming here. I learned something about myself,” Saban said, via Steven Wine of the Associated Press. “At the time, it was a tough consequence to have to deal with. I couldn’t have been in a better situation with better people here in Miami. But I found out maybe I was a little more suited to be a college coach. That was a tough realization because of the obligations I had to the people I worked for, and the players.”
Things have worked out OK for Saban as his Crimson Tide play Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl for a berth in the College Football Playoff final. Alabama is trying to win its sixth title in 10 seasons.
“I enjoyed coaching in the NFL,” Saban said. “I love college coaching.”
Things have not worked out so well for the Dolphins after Saban decided Drew Brees‘ surgically repaired shoulder was too much risk in the 2006 offseason. The Dolphins signed Daunte Culpepper instead of Brees, who went to New Orleans.
Brees, who has a Super Bowl ring, became the NFL’s all-time leading passer this season. The Dolphins are 90-117 with two playoff appearances and no playoff wins since declining to sign Brees. They are on their seventh coach since then, including interim coaches, and current coach Adam Gase is on the hot seat.
“It takes time to build a program,” Saban said, advocating for the Dolphins to keep Gase. “Sometimes when you make changes, you take two steps back to go one step forward.”