The two played at Kent State together in the early 70s.
"First of all, he's older than me. I want to make that very clear," Pinkel said, provoking a few laughs.
In 1990, Pinkel was in his sixth season as offensive coordinator at Washington and Saban was the head coach at Toledo. After one season with the Rockets, Saban was preparing to leave his post to join Bill Belichick in Cleveland.
But he had a replacement in mind.
"Truth be told, when Nick was the head coach at Toledo for one year and decided to go to the Cleveland Browns, he called and asked if I was interested in an interview [at Toledo]," Pinkel said. "He got me an interview. I'm very appreciative of him. I have great respect for him, I always have."
Pinkel went on to coach the Rockets from 1991-2000. He became Mizzou's head coach in '01.
"He will go down as one of the greatest coaches in college football," Pinkel said of Saban. "And he should."
Alabama plays Missouri on Oct. 13 in Columbia.
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