Humphrey expresses interest in job

With Head Coach Mike Shula still assembling his 2003 staff, <I>BamaMag.com</I> has learned that former Tide great Bobby Humphrey has sent word to his former teammate that he would like to be considered.

One of the greatest offensive players in Crimson Tide history, a good argument could be made for the Birmingham native as Bama's most productive all-time running back. His name literally dots the Alabama record books. Among his many collegiate honors, Humphrey was voted the Alabama Player of the Decade for the 1980s.

After a relatively brief but productive pro career that was cut short by drug addiction, Humphrey turned his life around and has become a model citizen in the Birmingham community. He is extremely active in church affairs, and the man known affectionately as "Hump" to his former teammates regularly visits youth and community groups to speak on the dangers of drug abuse.

For the past four years Humphrey has worked as Head Coach of the Birmingham Steeldogs of the Arena2 professional football league.

An dominant tailback at Alabama when healthy, Bobby Humphrey was often virtually unstoppable. (UA promotional photo)

Coach Shula announced yesterday the hiring of Dave Rader as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Rader was a member of the Alabama staff for part of Humphrey's career.

It's not certain at this point how many staff positions remain to be filled, but the reassignment of Eric and Aaron Price to administrative duties would indicate that the receivers position is definitely open. Also, given the problematic status of Kasey Dunn on the 2003 staff, running backs could very well be available as well.

Humphrey and Shula played together at Alabama in 1985 and 1986. Together they led the Tide to 9-2-1 and 10-3 seasons, including bowl victories over Southern Cal and Washington. Along with numerous other former Shula teammates, Humphrey was on hand for last Friday's press conference at which Shula was introduced as Alabama's 26th head coach.

Since that day Humphrey has also made it known privately that he would love to come back to Tuscaloosa in some capacity, ideally as the running backs coach.

Several former Tide players attended last Saturday's Steeldog game in Birmingham, including Shaun Alexander, Chris Samuels, Andrew Zow, Kelvin Sigler and Mike Feagin. Watching Humphrey coach the Birmingham team, all agreed that he would be an excellent addition to the Tide staff.

"Just imagine his impact on recruiting," Chris Samuels noted at the time. "Imagine Bobby Humphrey walking into your house, asking you to come play for the Crimson Tide!"

After the game when the Steeldog head coach had joined the group, the subject came up again. Acknowledging his interest in the job, Humphrey made clear that whether or not a position opens up for him at Alabama, he firmly believes that Shula will do extremely well for many years to come.

Humphrey is now coaching his fourth season for the Birmingham Steeldogs. After a slow first year, he really settled into the job and is now a very good coach. (Steeldogs photo)

Humphrey lettered for the Tide from 1985-1988. His senior season essentially ended before it began with a fractured foot, but his records are still prolific. Humphrey holds the Alabama record for total career yards (4,958), single season yards (2,016 in 1986), single season rushing yards (1,471 in 1986) and average yards per game in a single season (168 in 1986). His 3,420 career rushing yards trails only Shaun Alexander in that category.

During his Alabama career Humphrey notched four 200-yard games, including memorable contests versus Tennessee (1986: 217 yards) and Penn State (1987: 220 yards). In one of the most dominating individual performances in college football, Humphrey carried the football 13 consecutive downs in that game versus the Nittany Lions. His 284 yards versus Mississippi State in 1986 was his best single-game performance.

Despite missing most of his senior season, Humphrey turned in 15 100-yard games in his career. He was an All America in both '86 and '87.

In the NFL Humphrey was a dominant back for the Denver Broncos for two years, leading the team in rushing in both 1989 and 1990. But after that unfortunately drugs took their toll on the magnificent back's production. He spent one more season in Denver before moving to the Miami Dolphins in 1992. He tried a comeback with the Buffalo Bills in 1995. Humphrey finished with 2,856 career rushing yards in the NFL, averaging 4.1 yards per carry.

Humphrey's battles with drug addiction were all-too public, but his life since then has turned out to be an inspirational story. Today he is known throughout the Birmingham community as a role model for both young people and adults.


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