The other 11 finalists are former Dolphins offensive lineman Bob Kuechenberg, Harry Carson, Richard Dent, L.C. Greenwood, Russ Grimm, Claude Humphrey, Art Monk, Roger Wehrli, former New York Giants executive George Young, and senior nominees Fritz Pollard and Benny Friedman.
The Class of 2005, which will consist of between four and seven members, will be announced on Feb. 5, the day before the Super Bowl.
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Back to Bates, his decision not to return as an assistant had been expected after he talked about how much he enjoyed his time as interim head coach following Dave Wannstedt's resignation in November.
"Nick and I are good friends and we respect each other as colleagues, but I think this decision is in the best interest of the football team," Bates said in a statement. "I know Nick well, and there's no doubt in my mind that the organization is in great hands."
There also are reports that assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach Marc Trestman has been told he will not be retained, although no official announcement has been made.
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Saban's first three coaching staff hirings worked with him at LSU: Derek Dooley, Will Muschamp and Bobby Williams.
You may recognize the name of Williams, who took over as Michigan State head coach after Saban left there for LSU in the mid-'90s.
Williams and Dooley were hired as offensive assistants, while Muschamp will work on defense. Their exact roles will be announced once Saban has finished assembling his staff.
Saban has gotten permission from Houston Texans to talk with their defensive line coach, Todd Grantham, and it is expected that he will be hired as defensive coordinator to replace Bates.
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Saban also hired Carolina Panthers assistant head coach/special teams coach Scott O'Brien as coordinator of football operations.
O'Brien, who was on Bill Belichick's staff in Cleveland along with Saban in 1994, will handle special assignments by Saban as well as work in the team's personnel department.
It is not clear whether O'Brien will report to current GM Rick Spielman, or vice versa.
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Finally, owner Wayne Huizenga held a press conference on Monday to announce a makeover plan for Pro Player Stadium, which began with a change of the name to Dolphins Stadium.
The stadium might get a naming sponsor at some point (perhaps DHL), but the word "Dolphins" will remain in the name.
Huizenga also talked about plans to build a roof on the stadium to make it more attractive for non-football-related events he hopes to bring to the stadium.
None of the changes are likely to take effect for at least a few years.