Coach vs. Team: 4 Coaches Who Played Their Old Teams in Big Games
When the Seattle Seahawks played the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, there was no doubt the game was going to be a little more personal for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. After all, it’s not every day you’re given the opportunity to coach against your former team with a championship on the line. A former team that happened to become a dynasty after they fired you. Talk about motivation.
It’s hard enough to be the last team standing at the end of the season, but this adds even more pressure to the game. It’s as if Carroll was literally fighting against his past. And that can’t be easy. However, it’s not like it hasn’t happened before. Here’s a look at four coaches who faced their former teams in big games.
1. Roy Williams
Roy Williams spent 15 seasons as the head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks before he decided to return to his alma mater, North Carolina, and coach the Tar Heels. In the 2007-08 season, Williams had the misfortune of facing his former program in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament. Things did not go his way. Kanas won the game, 84-66, and moved on to face the Memphis Tigers in the NCAA Championship Game. And then it was all about Mario Chalmers.
2. Jim Caldwell
Jim Caldwell became the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2009. During his first season in charge, the Colts made it to the Super Bowl, but ended up losing to the New Orleans Saints. Despite his early success, Caldwell’s tenure in Indy was short lived, as he was fired after the 2011 season. However, it would only take Caldwell one year to get his revenge.
Late in the 2012 season, Caldwell replaced Cam Cameron as offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. The move ended up paying dividends for the Ravens, as they went on to win the Super Bowl. The Ravens remarkable playoff run began in the Wild Card Game, when they defeated the Indianapolis Colts in Baltimore. That had to feel good for Jim Caldwell, who proved he was clearly capable of running a team. Fortunately for him, the Detroit Lions felt the same way.
3. Jon Gruden
In 2002, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers absolutely demolished the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII, 48-21. In this majorly one-side affair, the Bucs dominated the Raiders in every facet of the game. What was even more surprising was that they forced, Raiders MVP quarterback Rich Gannon, into throwing 5 interceptions. It’s as if they knew exactly what Oakland was doing. Do you think it had something to do with the fact that Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden had coached the Raiders the season before? We do.
4. Nick Saban
Nick Saban has won three national championships since becoming the head coach at Alabama in 2007, and we’re sure he’s savored every last one of them. However, there has to be something special about the title from 2011. In this particular BCS Championship Game, the Tide took on Saban’s former team, the LSU Tigers, who had happened to beat Alabama in a meeting earlier that season. Of course, in true Saban fashion, he made the necessary changes, and Alabama came out ready to play. They got their revenge 21-0.
All statistics are courtesy of Sports-Reference.com