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TUESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2007
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Alabama expects word on Saban today

By Josh Cooper
jcooper@decaturdaily.com∑ 340-2460

TUSCALOOSA — Alabama could get an answer in its football coaching search as soon as today, according to sources close to the situation.

Alabama athletics director Mal Moore has met with Nick Saban on Monday and offered the Tide job to the Miami Dolphins coach.

While published reports said that Alabama would offer Saban a 10-year deal worth $40 million, a source close to the search shot down rumors of such a lucrative deal. On its Web site, the Tuscaloosa News is reporting the Tide has offered eight years and $30 million.

Saban has three years left on the contract he signed with Miami on Dec. 27, 2004, that pays him $5 million annually. ESPN is reporting that Miami owner Wayne Huizenga is trying to peruade Saban to stay.

Moore told The Associated Press on Monday that he wonít comment on the coaching search until itís over.

ďIím talking with three or four different coaches at this point so I donít want to comment about any coach,Ē Moore said.

The Birmingham News reported on its Web site that Moore had flown to Miami on Monday.

Meanwhile, in his last news conference of the season as Dolphins head coach, Saban once again declined to comment on the Alabama job.

ďIíve got a rule that Iím not talking about any of that stuff,Ē Saban said. ďIím committed to doing my job well here. This is my job. Thatís what Iíve done all day today, and thatís what Iíll continue to do.Ē

When asked if any meetings were scheduled between Saban and Moore, Saban simply stated: ďI donít know about that.Ē

Industry insiders have indicated that despite Sabanís sometime harsh denials of his interest in the Alabama job, his friends within the coaching world have told Moore that the former LSU coach is interested in the Alabama job.

If Saban decides to not take the Alabama job, the Tide will move to Plan B, which could include Louisvilleís Bobby Petrino, Navyís Paul Johnson or Wake Forestís Jim Grobe.

Sources say that Petrino is next on the list.

Either way, school officials have indicated that the Tide wants to have a coach in place by the end of the week.

If Alabama does get Saban, it would be a huge coup for Moore and the Crimson Tide. Despite a 15-17 record with the Dolphins, Saban is 92-42-1 in collegiate stints with Toledo, Michigan State and LSU.

Sabanís 48-16 record with the LSUTigers during 2000-04 include a national championship in 2003.

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