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Matt Roberts felt he was ready to be a head coach when he left his post as an assistant coach at Michigan State in 2012 to become an assistant coach at Mississippi State.
He wanted to be the head coach of a Southeastern Conference program.
Roberts, who played at Arkansas, quickly learned that coaching in the SEC is not like coaching in the Big Ten, but two years with the Bulldogs paved the way for him in becoming a head coach.
Roberts became the 19th head coach of the MSU men's tennis program last week, replacing Per Nilsson who has since moved on to Pepperdine.
"When I came from Michigan State, I told the associate athletic director there, 'one day I hope to be a head coach of an SEC school,'" Roberts said. "It was great there in the Big Ten, but in the SEC, we have a higher drive in all of our sports. I felt like I had to make a move and I knew that would possibly set me up for a head coach in the SEC. I wanted to be a head coach after two years at Michigan State.
"When I came here, it was a completely different ballgame. What I've learned in two years (is) a lot of people don't learn in five or six (years), especially in the SEC, and how competitive we are and how good we want to stay."
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