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A 2013 voicemail led Sam Pittman to turn down an opportunity on Nick Saban's staff

Back in 2013, Sam Pittman was an in-demand offensive line coach just starting his first few weeks on the job with the Razorbacks as their assistant head coach / offensive line coach.

Pittman had previous coaching experience with the offensive lines at Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Northern Illinois, North Carolina and Tennessee prior to arriving in Fayetteville.

But in those first few weeks at Arkansas, an opportunity arose on Nick Saban's staff at Alabama. Heading into the 2013 season, Saban was coming off national titles in three of the last four seasons (2009, 2011, 2012) and was looking for a new offensive line coach after Jeff Stoutland decided to leave Tuscaloosa to join Chip Kelly's staff in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles.

(Related sidenote: Zach did an impressive piece on the turnover of Saban's staffs over the years in Tuscaloosa you can read here.)

Pittman had really enjoyed his brief time with the Razorbacks and Bret Bielema so far and saw a bright future for the program, so leaving would have been tough.

While weighing the pros and cons, it was a phone call to his mother that helped clear the picture for him, and likely set the table for him to come back to Arkansas as the leader of the program seven years later.

When asked about how he went about turning down Saban's offer, Pittman explained that while most of that will stay between him and Saban, he did share the following with the Saturday Down South podcast (33:30 mark).

"I had just gotten to Arkansas and publicly said that this was the greatest job, at that point, in my coaching career. So I hadn't been there but maybe three or four weeks and I had called my mother and had talked to her about it.

"I got a call back, because I guess she couldn't sleep, and she left me a message that said, 'I don't know how hard you're thinking about this, but I didn't raise a son that would commit to a place and then four weeks later, leave. So I don't think that what you were talking about with it being coach Saban and all those other things has anything to do with those kids.'"

After hearing that perspective from his mother, Pittman knew the right decision was to stay. Saban ended up hiring Mario Cristobal who stayed for a few seasons before leaving for Oregon to become the co-offensive coordinator before taking over the head coaching job a year later.

The interview also covers Pittman's thought process after interviewing for the Razorbacks head coaching job heading into the 2020 season and why he didn't feel like he nailed the interview and likely wasn't going to be offered the job.

Fascinating listen from the SDS folks. Catch it all below.

Saturday Down South Podcast · Sam Pittman Interview, Bryce Young & the SEC's 5-star QBs, SEC coaches as guys at the gym (ep. 372)