The last time the University of Alabama’s Nick Saban faced Michigan State,
he had already gotten used to seeing one of his former teams on the opposing sideline.
“I get this every year when we play LSU, and they’re not quite so understanding,”
Saban said before the Capital One Bowl at the end of the 2010 season.
Now, though, going up against one of his former assistant coaches is becoming a regular thing.
Last Saturday the Crimson Tide took out Florida and Jim McElwain in the SEC Championship Game.
Next up, the Spartans and Mark Dantonio in the Cotton Bowl in a national championship semifinal.
Moreover, on Monday both Kirby Smart and Will Muschamp were introduced as head coaches at Georgia and South Carolina, respectively.
The way this is going, pretty soon the SEC might be known as the Saban’s Everywhere Conference.
“It always makes me proud and happy for the guys that did a great job for us when they were part of our staff,
and they go on and move on and have success other places,” Saban said. “It kind of makes me happy and proud,
and I'm not the kind of guy who has to dislike my opponent to play well against him.
Sometimes ‘respect’ is a better word,
and when you know somebody is a really good coach and has done a great job for you, it's really easy to respect them.