It might not have seemed like a big deal at the time, but Billy Napier credits being hired as an Alabama analyst in 2011 as the most valuable moment of his coaching career.

Napier had been fired as offensive coordinator at Clemson, but Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban wanted to add him to UA’s coaching staff.

Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated recently profiled Napier, now the head coach at Louisiana, for a feature.

“Billy calls 2011 the most valuable year of his career, when Saban picked him up ‘off the streets’ the year after Dabo Swinney fired him as Clemson’s offensive coordinator,” Dellenger writes.

It certainly appears to be the hire that set Napier on the trajectory of becoming a head coach. After the 2011 national championship season at Alabama, Napier followed former Tide offensive coordinator Jim McElwain to Colorado State as a quarterbacks coach. After a year at CSU, Napier briefly linked up with Jimbo Fisher at FSU before returning to Alabama as wide receivers coach, a position he held for four seasons (2013-16). Napier left to be Arizona State’s offensive coordinator in 2017, but now that he has a head coaching job, he’s implementing the things he learned during his five seasons under Saban.

“There is a method to the madness,” Louisiana offensive coordinator Rob Sale, who also worked on Saban’s Alabama staff said. “Everything, when you walk into this building, has the Alabama backbone. How we do our film breakdown, summer scouting reports, academic point structure, offseason program … everything is the same. We’re going to win here.”