The year was 2005, ten years removed from Don Shula's retirement. The Dolphins were very much in the midst of a mediocrity-strewn identity crisis that stretches on to this day. Nick Saban was the hottest coach in college football. He had turned LSU into national champs. So when the Miami Dolphins announced Saban as their fifth head coach, expectations were almost as high as excitement.
Of course, we know now, Saban's tenure turned out to be another stretch of shattered dreams for the Fins, and after promising not to, Saban hightailed it out of town after two seasons. He headed back to the college ranks to Alabama where he has racked up three more national titles.
The common take now is that Saban demands the total respect of his players. He likes to run his teams like a tyrant. That's far easier to accomplish by coaching unpaid college kids instead of fully grown men with paychecks that put them in the one percent.
Deadspin has an amusing rundown of tales of Saban's spats with Dolphins players excerpted from the new book Saban: The Making of a Coach by Monte Burke. The best of those anecdotes is the time that team's then resident loudmouth Channing Crowder hired Saban a stripper.
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Apparently the Fins hold an annual rookie talent show, and Crowder, then a rookie, teamed up with Matt Roth to put on a performance. Their talent was apparently stripper wrangling. They called Saban up on stage, and out came a woman in high heels, a bikini, and a Jason Taylor jersey.
The stripper moved in front of Saban and began to dance provocatively. He sat completely still for one more moment, then abruptly stood up, walked off the stage, and hustled up the stairs. The room went silent. “There were like 30 stairs,” says Crowder. “All you could hear was the click, click, click of his shoes, then the door creaking open and the boom when it shut behind him.” The room exploded in delirious peals of laughter. “It was pretty immature on our part to include Saban in the skit,” says Crowder. “But that’s why we did it.”
The excerpt also chronicles other run-ins players had with the coach, and the fact that he was infuriated when players called him Nick instead of