Kiwi coach Vern Cotter's revealed he was close to becoming Dave Rennie's successor at the Chiefs before accepting the role in the Top 14 with glamour club Montpellier.
Having left Scotland after this year's Six Nations, the 55-year-old said his initial thought was a homecoming to New Zealand.
"Our initial destination was New Zealand," Cotter told French publication Midi Olympique.
"Then there was contact with the Chiefs, which allowed me to go back home and stay in rugby.
"[Talks were] quite advanced. But at that moment, [Montpellier boss] Mr Altrad called me."
That call could have changed the course of the Chiefs with new Montpellier signing Aaron Cruden making the revelation via the club's website that it was Cotter's arrival that convinced him to make the switch.
"Vern came into contact with me last year to tell me about his vision of the MHR," Cruden said.
"I was impressed by his ideas and it made me want to be involved in the future of the club."
Since leaving New Zealand back in 2006, Cotter has established himself as one of the premier coaches in world rugby, leading Scotland to sixth in the world rankings and within 30 seconds of a World Cup semi-final.
Cruden said an opportunity to play with the former Bay of Plenty and Crusaders forwards coach was one he couldn't turn down.
"He is a quality coach who has had lots of international success in recent years.
"He will bring new dynamic and high demands, which will benefit the club."
Cruden will link up with Montpellier for their 2017/18 season following the end of the Chiefs Super Rugby campaign.