Nick Saban addressed a packed media
room on the fifth floor of the LSU Athletics Administration Building Wednesday night. Smiling and
joking with members of the media, the mood turned awkwardly serious when LSU’s
fifth-year head coach stepped behind the microphone.
When he was introduced, sports
information director Michael Bonnette
said Saban was issue a statement pertaining to a press release issued Wednesday
morning concerning his preliminary discussions with the Miami Dolphins of the
NFL. Bonnette went on to add Saban would then field questions pertaining only to
Wednesday practice or the Tigers’ Jan. 1 matchup with the Iowa Hawkeyes in the
Capital One Bowl./
Let’s just say, the media had other
While the questions were not
directed totally at Saban jumping to the NFL, the inquiries ranged from how he
addressed the team Wednesday, the subject of recruiting or some sort of
timetable of what LSU fans can expect in terms of knowing whether or not Saban
will continue on as the head coach of the Tigers.
"We haven't always had success, but
we certainly had our share of it,” Saban said. “We've got a lot of good football
players on our team, and we look forward to the challenges that we have in the
Saban did guarantee he would be on
the sidelines for LSU’s bowl game against Iowa on Jan. 1.
“Absolutely,” he said.
Someone reminded Saban of the fact
the last time he was headed to the Capital One Bowl (then the Citrus Bowl) as
head coach of Michigan State in 1999, he did not join the Spartans in
accepted the head coaching job at LSU.
"I came here instead," referencing
that 1999 season. "And it's been well worth it, I might add. I had a lot of
great memories and opportunities to play in a lot of great football
And with that, the highest paid
coach in college football (making $2.3 million annually) said he did not wish to
speak of the situation anymore.
"I don't have any intentions of
speaking to anybody else relative to this situation at this time,” Saban
But the questions did not
Against his will, Saban,
tight-lipped and obviously annoyed by the inquisition, answered the first few
questions, but after a few moments glared at the media with the icy demeanor he
has become famous for since arriving at LSU in December of 1999.
"I'm not driving the wheel here,"
Saban said. "They're (Miami) continuing their search, and I'm
continuing my job, and that's it. Nothing else."
It is rumored the Dolphins have
offered Saban $5 million and complete control of the program as head coach and
general manager. However, Miami must continue the interviewing process,
calling on minority coaches, or face a $500,000 fine by the NFL league
Speaking of the NFL, as it seemed
Saban continually referred to LSU in the past tense and reading his body
language, it almost seemed as if he knew something every else didn’t, he made a
statement that both seemed confusing and yet intriguing concerning the National
“When I coached for Jerry
(Glanville) in Houston, he used to say the NFL stood for “’Not
For Long,’” Saban said. “And lately, the college coaches that have went to the
NFL, it was just that, ‘Not For Long.’”
While it seemed almost as if Saban
was speaking out of both sides of his mouth, the statement Not For Long begs the
question, “then why is he interviewing with NFL teams.”
Saban answered that question as it
pertained to his career and his future as a football coach and classified it as
a career decision that everyone at some point is faced with.
While this saga will likely rock on
through the remainder of the holiday season, it is likely Saban doesn’t quite
know what is in store.
In the mean time the speculation
continues as to will Saban continue forward as LSU’s coach or will the powers
that be on campus go in search of a new leader. Athletic director Skip Bertman
is trying his best to remain positive.
"This is not about money," Bertman
said. "This is about the big leagues calling. Miami is a special team, one of the best in the
league since about 1970. He wanted to hear what they had to say, and I think
"He loves the people here. He loves
his job here, but if it's baseball and the New York Yankees call, I'd probably
have to listen."
While it is still to early to begin
speculating who could take over if Saban bolts, early names being thrown around
are former Miami Hurricane and Cleveland Brown head coach Butch Davis along with
Oklahoma State coach Les Miles, Cal coach Jeff Tedford as well as offensive
coordinator Jimbo Fisher.
While Davis has spurned several offers to coach next season, when
he left the Browns he expressed interest in two college coaching jobs –
Florida (which was filled by Utah coach Urban Meyer)
and the LSU gig.