Glanville On Record About Coaching

Jerry Glanville has a reputation of producing hard-hitting, physical teams with speed and a dominating attitude. If the characteristics sound familiar to Alabama fans, they should considering the flamboyant sideline leader punched Nick Saban's NFL ticket.

Jerry Glanville is now with the Hartford (Conn.) Colonials as head coach and general manager. The third and final open free agent tryout for the United Football League entrant was held at Middletown High School's Rosek-Skubel Stadium in the Miller-Fillback Sports Complex, attracting 231 candidates from every corner of the country. Training camp resumes in July with the 2011 season to commence in mid August.

Sporting stylish sunglasses and attired in his trademark black from head-to-toe the affable gridiron general sat down with 'BAMA Magazine/ to talk about his "ol' sidekick" Nick Saban, the Southeastern Conference, his job interview with Coach Paul Bryant, and the passion of coaching.

Almost a quarter century ago, he was the Houston Oilers head coach prospecting for candidates to join the defensive staff. Recommendation from a future Super Bowl winning coach prompted a Saban two-year Texas flavored apprenticeship in 1988-89.

"I was looking for a bump 'n' run corner coach," Glanville said. "I needed somebody to coach bump 'n' run like I wanted to coach it. A guy in Pittsburgh named Tony Dungy said he thought he knew a guy I should at least interview. I asked Tony if he would hire this guy and he said he wouldn't, but he would at least interview him.

"We brought him in from Michigan State and he coached bump 'n' run exactly like Jerry Glanville. I thought I was interviewing myself on his technique, hand placement, and the importance of what he was doing."

There was one thing that bothered Glanville, though.

"He was wearing a coat and a tie," Glanville said. "He looked like a college coach. I said, ‘Let me tell you something, buddy. We don't wear a coat and tie. We don't get dressed up, but we do coach ball. Take that tie off and take that coat off and get up on the board.' I made him take off all of those college clothes and get on the board and teach me football.

"He was awesome. Been awesome ever since."

Glanville had a tradition of leaving NFL game tickets at will-call for the late Elvis Presley. Saban's involvement in this enterprise didn't work out well.

Glanville said, "We were playing a game against the Seattle Seahawks. Saban came up with the idea that I leave tickets for D.B. Cooper," the name given to a man who hijacked an airplane in 1971, extorted $200,000, and then parachuted from the plane, never to be seen again.

"We got in trouble with the government because the investigation was ongoing,." Glanville said. "They had to put FBI agents at the ticket window. Nick caused that whole problem."

Glanville has been evaluating football players for four and a half decades. He said the best college football is in the Southeastern Conference for one primary reason: defensive line speed.

Because of that defensive line speed, he said, "The SEC is the closest thing to pro football."

Glanville said, "I've been going to the Senior Bowl since the sixth grade picnic. The linebackers on the North squad run like the D-linemen on the South squad. The SEC is about the defensive line. They are like NFL defensive lineman." He conceded recruiting has changed roster configuration. Great players can be found at schools throughout the country since Southeastern prospects are willing to travel beyond the regional borders.

Tuscaloosa was almost a coaching carousel stopover for Glanville in the early 1970s. "Coach Bryant called me over to Alabama and tried to hire me," he said. "I was at Georgia Tech. I wish I could have picked up every word he said, but I got about every third word.

"It's funny because I got to coach against Alabama when I was with Hawaii (2006). I went down and stood where I was with Coach Bryant when he was trying to have me become a part of Alabama. Coach Bryant in the interview was totally awesome."

The interview came with a caveat, Glanville said. "Coach Bryant told me, ‘We take care of our own first, so don't get upset if I take care of my own.'"

And that's what happened. Former Alabama All-America Paul Crane retired from the New York Jets and joined the Bama staff.

Glanville, 69, professes a love of coaching. "I don't care about anything in the world other than teaching. If you're a teacher and you watch a guy get better, life is good. Life can't get any better. When Nick (Saban) was with me, we had a guy and we didn't know if he could play. Three months later he is winning a game or us. That's teaching. That's what we do this for. There is only one thing that matters, getting a guy to be better."

A country music legend – no, not the other man in black, Johnny Cash -- encouraged Glanville to continue in the profession. "Waylon Jennings said to me, ‘Jerry Glanville, don't you dare die with the music inside you.' At that time I wasn't coaching and he ripped me, saying that with what I know and what I can do, that I had to share it."

That penchant for developing players, making them better, is also a trademark of the man who worked for Glanville, Nick Saban.

BamaMag Top Stories