Huizenga's Comments

Because Nick Saban left South Florida Wednesday without addressing the media, it was left to owner Wayne Huizenga to announce that Saban would not be returning as Dolphins head coach. Here is the transcript of Huizenga's press conference.

Opening Remarks: "As you know, Nick Saban has decided not to return to the Dolphins. It is what it is. I met with Nick at his home this morning with his wife Terry. There are a lot of reasons why decisions get made in life, but the net is that he's not coming back. He'll be leaving this afternoon to go to Alabama. We have to move forward.

"I just want to say that, in my opinion, the Dolphins have always been about winning, but I just want everyone to know that it's really all about winning right now. We want to win. There's only one thing I want to do, is win. I don't care what it takes, what it costs, or what's involved. We're going to make this a winning franchise. It's no fun owning a team if you're not winning, I can tell you that. We are absolutely, positively going to get back to be a winning team and sooner rather than later.

"We have a process in place as to what we're going to do as we move forward. Joe Bailey and Bryan Wiedmeier will head up the search and work on the process as to where we're going and how we're doing it. As for where we are today, it's all about continuity. Everyone's working. We have met and spoken with all of the coaches. We've met with all of the staff here. It's all about business as usual as we go forward and look for a new head coach.

"If any of you have any questions or comments or you want to meet or speak with anyone, I ask of you to talk to Harvey (Greene, Dolphins Senior Vice President-Media Relations) and Harvey will set it up and arrange it for you. One thing I want to say to you, we value your input. If anyone here has a good suggestion or a positive suggestion, even a negative suggestion, something that you think is important to the Miami Dolphins and where and how we go forward, we would like to have your input and ask you if you would call Harvey or George (Torres, Dolphin Enterprises Senior Director of Corporate Communications and Development) and give us your honest opinion, whether it's positive or negative. We don't care. We value you your input and we would like you to do that. We want to be good listeners, and I think that's all about we really need to say on anything."

On whether he's upset with the way Nick Saban handled the situation: "The answer is no, I'm not upset because it's more involved than what you think. I've been through this with Nick for quite some time now. I feel the pain and so forth and so on of both Nick and Terry. It's not a very simple thing. No, I'm not upset with Nick. I think Nick's great. They are moving on to Alabama and all of us here at the Miami Dolphins – we met and talked this morning – we want the best for Nick and for Terry. I wish them well, and I tell you what. I'll be Nick's biggest fan. I'll be cheering for him to win that bowl game. I like Nick a lot. I think he could have won here. I'm a Nick Saban fan, and I know some people will say, ‘Why do you feel that way?' I'm a Nick Saban fan, and I wish them both a lot of success."

On whether at any point Saban told him he would not leave the Dolphins: "No, he did not."

On whether he felt like he would be in this position today: "I was optimistic yesterday. I wouldn't tell you I was if I wasn't. I was optimistic."

On why Saban left: "That's not really for me to say. All that we're really concerned about here is that he has chosen to leave. We don't want to look backwards, we want to look forward. Let's think about what it's going to take for us to get from point A to point B. Above all, there's only one thing I'm really concerned about now. I don't want to dwell on the past. All I want to figure out is how the heck we're going to win."

On whether he will give one person the same kind of authority he gave Saban: "This isn't the first time we've addressed this situation. In theory – I've managed lots of companies in my career, big and small – if you're a CEO of a company – and I look as the head coach as the CEO of that division – you need to control who is going to work for you. There are situations where a GM picks the players and there are situations where a GM picks the coaches. Then the question becomes, where is their allegiance? Where is their loyalty? Is it to the guy that hired him or is it the guy they report to? There's a fine line there and some people may view it one way and some people may view it another way. As a CEO of companies, I want the right to hire my own people. There is something that's close to that where a general manager has complete control of the personnel department, runs the whole show and picks the players, but he has to make that one last final stop to the president of the team or the head coach before he can pull the trigger."

On whether it is appropriate to give a coach that much authority: "That's something Bryan (Wiedmeier) and all of us talk about. There are pitfalls in both ways. Some teams in the league do it one way and some teams in the league do it the other way. We can sit a debate that all day long. It's not a simple yes and no or open and shut. There are some reasons you would and some reasons you wouldn't. I think there is a middle of the road approach and that's probably what we should do."

On whether money or a contract extension was ever demanded by Saban): "This was never about money. This was not a money decision. On the subject of money, I was not going to bring this up, but seeing as you did, the numbers I hear on the radio talk shows and so forth, it is nowhere near that number. It is nowhere near that number. It's never been about money. Nick never talked to me about money. He never talked to me about an extension. He never asked me for anything. I honestly believe this was not about money. It never ever got to that. We never had to make a decision. He never asked for anything. That's why I still feel strongly about Nick. He never made it an issue where he could have asked for this, or could have asked for that. That never happened."

On what he would say to the fans who feel they were betrayed: "I don't want to dwell on why he left with our fans. I think I know what our fans want. Our fans want to win and that's what I want, too. Everyone with the Dolphins wants to win. Win, win, win. That's all I can say. We're going to go out there and kick some butt and make something happen. I can guarantee that."

On whether he feels betrayed by Saban) – "No, I do not."

On the Dolphins' timetable for selecting another head coach: "We have a process in place. We have a plan in place. Bryan (Wiedmeier), Joe (Bailey), Bill (Pierce) and several of us have started back several days ago, going through the list and so forth and so on. I'm going to be doing some traveling – not personal, but business traveling. Bryan and Joe will head that process up, going through the list that we have and contacting the necessary people to get the process going as quickly as possible. This isn't the first time that we've spoken about it. We've been together since New Year's Day working on this thing."

On whether he's open to hiring another college coach: "We want to take the best candidate. It doesn't matter where he comes from. We want to take the best person at what we're looking for."

On with numerous coaching changes in the last 10 years, how he feels about the appearance of instability with the Dolphins: "I think there are special circumstances on each situation. There's no sense in looking back. You might as well look forward and let's go get the best person that we can."

On whether Saban's decision to leave the Dolphins was family-based: "That's not for me to say. It wasn't a money decision. That's all I'll say."

On what happens to the assistant coaches: "We spoke with them this morning and told them that Bryan (Wiedmeier) would be getting with them this afternoon and talking to them. We asked for their input. We asked for them to give us their concerns, their criticisms and their suggestions. We think that they're good guys and hope that they'll all stick around."

On the appearance that Saban stood him up for a 10:00 a.m. meeting today: "That's not true at all. I went to Nick's house this morning to save him a trip to come over here. I only live a block and a half from where he lives. I called him and said, ‘let me come by and spend some time with you.' That's what we did."

On how long the meeting lasted: "I don't know. I didn't time it."


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