Sports Outside the Beltway

Did Nick Saban really reject a 50 millon dollar offer from Alabama?

From the Miami Herald-

Dolphins coach Nick Saban has turned down an offer from the University of Alabama that would have paid him $5 million per year and would have included a $7 million bonus.

No contract was officially drawn up because Saban politely held off any contact with the school through his Memphis-based agent Jimmy Sexton. But the school approached Sexton through various sources on at least two occasions.

”I’m sure they talked to Jimmy,” Saban said Thursday. ‘They called Jimmy and said, `Is Nick interested,’ and Jimmy said, ‘No.’ And Jimmy asked me on several occasions and I said, `No, I’m interested in staying here.’


ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit spent the early part of this week in New York at the National Football Foundation ceremonies and spoke with several people who also told him Alabama had made Saban a $5 million a year offer.

”I’ve been told they offered him $7 million up front with a $5 million dollar annual salary and he turned it down. That’s what I heard,” Herbstreit told WQAM-560 Thursday morning. “Again, I’m not Chris Mortensen and I don’t like to break stories but that’s what I was told.

“I was at the National Football Foundation dinner on Tuesday night at the Waldorf in New York and there were a lot of pretty distinguished gentlemen there and one thing led to another and I talked to somebody that I have a lot of respect for and he told me that Nick Saban had turned down the Alabama job.”

ESPN has reported all sorts of trades as ‘done’ over the years but which never materialized. The first I can remember was a Shawn Dunston trade to the New York Mets. So I believe Saban’s version of what happened rather than ESPN’s.

As for Saban, I wouldn’t have missed him if he had left for Bama. I suspect his time in Miami won’t be a particularly successful one. The team just has too many problems on the field and too poor personnel judgment in the team’s front office. Team owner H Wayne Huzienga is much more likely to send Saban packing in 2 or 3 years than it is for the Miami Dolphins to go the The Super Bowl or even the AFC Championship game in that same period of time. IMHO.

UPDATE (James Joyner): Alabama, which has apparently hired WVU’s Rich Rodriguez, vehemently denies this rumor.

“Every word of that is a complete fabrication,” John McMahon, a member of the University of Alabama System board of trustees, said of the Herald’s report. “That’s a total lie. (The board) would never approve it.”

Added Finis St. John IV, chairman of the trustees’ athletic committee: “It’s a total fabrication.”

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I’m dubious that Alabama would have offered that kind of money, especially with a giant contract still owed Mike Shula hanging over their heads. Then again, who knows? There’s a lot of money to be had from boosters and Saban would have been a huge “get” that would have satisfied fans long enough to give him a real shot at rebuilding the program.

The Dolphins have had a disappointing season. Then again, Culpepper has not gotten healthy and you’re relying on Joey Frickin’ Harrison as your starting QB. Historically, that has not been a recipe for success, especially in a division with the Pats and resurgent Jets.

Posted by James Joyner | December 8, 2006 | 06:31 am | Permalink

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