Nick Saban has accepted an offer from Alabama to coach the Crimson Tide and left the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday, two weeks after declaring "I'm not going to be the Alabama coach."
Saban will return to the SEC, where he won a national championship with LSU .Saban told team owner Wayne Huizenga of his intentions via telephone and then informed all of his coaches by speakerphone that he was leaving to accept the Alabama position, a source told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Alabama made its formal offer to Saban on Monday after rumors swirled for weeks that the Crimson Tide were pursuing the former LSU coach. The offer, believed to run from eight to 10 years, is worth $35 million to $40 million, and includes many variables, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Monday.
Saban had issued repeated denials that he was interested in coaching at Alabama, one of the most high-profile and high-pressure college coaching jobs in the country. He leaves the Dolphins with three years left on a deal worth approximately $4.5 million a year.
Alabama began looking for a coach after firing Mike Shula on Nov. 27. The Tide finished the season 6-7, losing to Oklahoma State in the Independence Bowl.
On Tuesday, Saban asked for and recevied more time from Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga to make a decision.
Huizenga remained optimistic Tuesday that Saban would return to Miami, and gave him until 10 a.m. Wednesday to make a decision.
"I'm hoping he's leaning on staying," Huizenga was quoted as saying in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "I like Nick a lot and hope he's going to stay. I'm not upset. You just have to play this thing through."
Huizenga has said he received repeated assurances from Saban late in the season that he would return in 2007. And Saban issued frequent public denials of interest in moving to Tuscaloosa, such as on Dec. 21, when he said: "I'm not going to be the Alabama coach."