When you look at the coaching staff of LSU’s 2003 team, it’s no wonder the Tigers won the BCS national championship that year.
That staff included three current SEC head coaches along with one former member of that group — Alabama’s Nick Saban (sorry, LSU fans), Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher, South Carolina’s Will Muschamp and Tennessee’s Derek Dooley. And even though Dooley’s time with the Volunteers was a disappointment, he’s back in the league circle as Missouri’s offensive coordinator.
A video tweeted by Jacques Doucet, who covers LSU for a Baton Rouge TV station, shows all four coaches in action during practices from 2003.
Gold from the @WAFB archives.
— Jacques Doucet (@JacquesDoucet) October 8, 2018
That 2003 staff was impressive enough, but the Tigers added another future head coach the following year, Saban’s last in Baton Rouge. Kirby Smart served as defensive backs coach for one season before reconnecting with Saban at Alabama and ultimately landing the job at Georgia.
As you can imagine, having this many future SEC head coaches working together meant they eventually met on the field as opponents. Fisher and Muschamp — LSU’s former offensive and defensive coordinators, respectively — are doing just that this weekend when No. 22 Texas A&M visits South Carolina.
They have experience coaching against each other from their times at Florida State and Florida, but the pair’s roots go back to those early-2000s Tigers teams. Fisher touched on what it’s like to face a former colleague during his appearance on Monday’s The Paul Finebaum Show.
“Will is a great coach. He’s one of the best defensive minds in college football — always has been. Does a great job as a head coach. He was at Florida when we went against each other. Had some outstanding teams. Of course, all the practices we used to go at it. Will, he’s a good friend and Will does a great job. South Carolina did a tremendous job last year, and they could have a good year this year. He’s a really good football coach. Honestly, I’ll be honest with you, I hate playing my friends. I really do, I mean, you got to go do it, you battle them. At the end of the day, if you lose you know how your family feels. If you win, you still know how their family feels. It is tough, like going against Mark (Stoops) this weekend. It was a great competition. You respect him as a competitor, but man this business is tough enough without having to play against people you like and are good friends with you.”
The members of that 2003 LSU coaching staff are probably used to it by now.