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At Iowa, Greg Mattison went from coach to dad

11/3/2011

Greg Mattison sat in the stands at Kinnick Stadium, the Michigan defensive coordinator with nothing in his control and his son playing on the field.

Yes, Mattison has coached in Kinnick before, but his memories aren't about that. They are instead about the five years his son, Bryan, was a defensive lineman for the Hawkeyes under Kirk Ferentz.

"I just, I really respect him, really respect their program," Mattison said. "Any time you allow your son to go somewhere, you have to have a lot of faith in them. His experience there couldn't have been better. It was a tremendous fit for him."

Bryan Mattison's days at Iowa almost didn't happen, though. Greg Mattison, then an assistant at Notre Dame, was recruiting him to play defensive line. Except when it came time to pick a school, Greg Mattison decided to do something else.

He didn't want his kid to play for him. So he told him to go somewhere other than Notre Dame. He landed at Iowa.

"It's one of those things in parenting. It's different in coaching. It's hard when I'd be coaching him myself," Greg Mattison said. "He's such a strong-willed guy and such a competitive guy that I didn't want him to have to put up with the politics of that locker room when you have to go from the coaching part of it to that part of it.

"It was a better fit."

It might have worked out on every count. Greg Mattison was part of Tyrone Willingham's coaching staff at Notre Dame. Willingham was fired following the 2004 season and replaced by Charlie Weis and Greg Mattison ended up at Florida, where he helped recruit Tim Tebow and win a national championship with Urban Meyer.