Saban Has Knack To Pick Good Players

There are only two men who have been head football coach at Alabama since 1958 with whom I have not played golf (not counting a couple – Bill Curry and Mike Price – who did not play golf). I thought about that when the Chick-fil-A Bowl announced the pairings for the challenge charity golf tournament it hosts each spring.

I realized that Alabama Coach Nick Saban—one of the two Crimson Tide head football coaches I have not played golf with -- had gotten a good scouting report. The format of the event is that 12 teams comprised of the head football coach at that college along with an alumnus of the team compete in six groups vying for their share of a $415,000 scholarship purse.

Saban is playing with former Alabama punter Chris Mohr. I played with Mohr one day when Ray Perkins and I went out for a friendly game. Perkins brought Mohr along to be his partner against Cecil Dowdy and me. Mohr was fantastic and he and Perkins were big winners.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl golf tournament is played at Reynolds Plantation Resort on Lake Oconee outside Atlanta. The groups will tee off at 8:30 a.m. EDT, Tuesday, May 3 and play a two-man scramble format over 18 holes. The tournament's championship team will earn a $120,000 first place scholarship donation to their university.

Saban is in a featured pairing because it will be Alabama vs. Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer and his former Hokie Dell Curry. Bama and Virginia Tech played in the 2008 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

There is another pairing that mirrors the annual Southeastern Conference-Atlantic Coast Conference pairing in the kickoff game. Tennessee Coach Derek Dooley and Stanley Morgan will play against North Carolina State Coach Tom O'Brien and Torry Holt. The Vols and Wolfpack play in the 2012 kickoff game.

Other pairings are Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney and Steve Fuller vs. South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier and Sterling Sharpe; Maryland Coach Randy Edsall and Stan Gelbaught vs. Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt and Wesley Walls; Mississippi State Coach Dan Mullen and Fred McCrary vs. Wake Forest Coach Jim Grobe and Riley Skinner; and Georgia Tech Coach Paul Johnson and Jon Barry vs. Miami Coach Al Golden and Gino Torretta.

The tournament is being taped by ESPN for later broadcast. The event will air Aug. 6 and Dec

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