Sam Pittman looks back on time he turned down opportunity from Nick Saban to join Alabama staff
Before Sam Pittman was the head coach at Arkansas, he was considered one of college football’s top offensive line coaches.
In 2013, Pittman accepted the offensive line coaching position at Arkansas. He was just weeks into his job when Nick Saban offered him the opportunity to come to Alabama. During a recent appearance on The Saturday Down South Podcast, Pittman recounted how one voicemail helped him make his decision to stay at Arkansas.
“The reasons were many, but one was I had just gotten to Arkansas. I had publicly said that this was the greatest job at that point in my coaching career. I hadn’t been here maybe 3 or 4 weeks. I had called my mother and had talked to her about it. I got a call back. She must’ve woke up and couldn’t sleep. She left me a message and it just 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 4 weeks later, leave,’” Pittman said.
“She said, ‘So I don’t think what you were talkin’ about with it being Coach Saban, it’s Alabama, has anything to do with those kids. I didn’t raise a son that would leave them.’ To be honest with you, that was the last straw.
“I looked at my wife, Jamie, and I said, ‘Well, we can put that thought out of our mind.’”
Things ultimately worked out well for all parties involved. Alabama would hire Mario Cristobal, who held the position through the 2016 season before leaving to become Oregon’s offensive coordinator in 2017 and head coach in 2018. Pittman remained at Arkansas through 2015 before taking the offensive line position at Georgia for three seasons (2016-18) and then returning to UA as the head coach of the Razorbacks.