Sports Illustrated released a great article today on an under-the-radar meeting that took place between Bill Belichick and Nick Saban earlier in their coaching careers, over 25 years ago.
Saban and Belichick did simply what a lot of other other coaches continue to do to this day – which is to make some time to sit down and talk scheme with one another. Back when Saban was a fresh-faced first-year defensive backs coach at Navy, he worked under the legendary Steve Belichick, Bill’s father.
Back in the late 1980’s, the two coaches decided to meet up in a town where they not only knew no one, but where they’d also be least expected to be, which happened to be West Point, NY. Saban was coaching the defensive backs for the Houston Oilers at the time, and Belichick was fresh off a Super Bowl win as the defensive coordinator for the Giants under Bill Parcells. Saban suggested they meet up sometime, and since the two of them saw the game through very similar lenses, they decided to secretly get together to learn from one another.
According to the article, Belichick shared his thoughts on the Cover 2 defense, while Saban shared the finer points of press man coverage.
It was that meeting that helped propel each coach on the path that they’re on today, and once Belichick landed his first head coaching job with the Browns in 1991, one of his first calls was to Saban, and it’s likely that meeting a few years earlier is part of the reason why. The article goes on to explain how the two’s contrasting styles and personalities started to morph, with Saban taking some of Belichick’s philosophies and vice versa.
Head here to read the full thing, with plenty more insight into the two’s unique relationship, stemming from that small, secret coaching clinic that involved just the two of them.