Case retires, Tide seeks replacement

Word of Ron Case's resignation had gotten out earlier in the week, but Tide Head Coach Dennis Franchione took advantage of Friday's meeting with the media to thank Alabama's Safeties coach for his service to the school. <br><br>"Ron has decided to retire," Franchione said. "We certainly understand that, and we appreciate the great job he has done for us."

After retiring from North Carolina when his long-time friend and associate Carl Torbush lost the Tar Heel head coaching job, Case was lured back to work last February when Franchione and Torbush made him an offer too good to refuse. Case said at the time that he considered the chance to coach at Alabama "the culmination" of his career.

A Marine Corps veteran with multiple tours in Vietnam, Case was a strong but steadying influence on the Tide defensive backs.

Case spent more than a decade as a player/coach for Marine Corps service teams, and then embarked on a 20-year coaching career, which included stops at Carson Newman, Richmond, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, LSU, North Carolina and Alabama. "When he came here we were hoping to get two years out of Ron, but we knew that we might not," Franchione said. "He brought with him a great expertise in the secondary, along with his experience with Coach Torbush, which was a real plus for us."

Franchione hopes to fill the position quickly. "We've been talking about different angles that we might go," he said. "We're still investigating some things. Hopefully, by the first of the week we might have more direction."

Case was obviously hired along with the strong recommendation of Carl Torbush. And since the opening is on the defensive side of the football, Alabama's defensive coordinator will again consult closely with Franchione. "Oh sure, Carl will have input," Franchione said. "I get input from the entire coaching staff, but especially Carl. In his position as defensive coordinator, I think it's important that he is comfortable with (the new assistant) as well as the other coaches.

"We have a great chemistry on this staff, and it's important that the person that comes in fits in well.

Franchione could decide to simply replace Case with another Safeties coach, but it's also possible that current Cornerbacks Coach Chris Thurmond could take over the entire secondary. "Coach Thurmond could assume those responsibilities," Franchione said. "He's coached all four positions before. It depends on the strength of your staff and what Coach Torbush is comfortable with. You play to people's strengths.

Franchione confers with Ron Case at practice.

"Who you hire depends partly on their recruiting expertise areas, how they would mesh with the staff. There are a lot of things to think about when you start analyzing a vacant position."

Most of the current Tide staff came with Franchione when he made the move from Texas Christian. So adding an assistant from this part of the country could be helpful. Franchione explained. "We'll give a great deal of weight to recruiting ability and even ties to this part of the country."

Franchione commented today that in order to deal effectively with the recently imposed NCAA sanctions, the Tide coaches simply can't afford any mistakes in player evaluations. "Recruiting is always a large part of any staff decision you make," he said. "But certainly in our situation right now, it's part of this decision."

Currently, no Tide on-the-field assistant coach is an alumnus of The University. And given Alabama's ongoing struggles with the NCAA, some have suggested that Franchione would prefer to hire outside the Crimson family.

But Franchione scoffed at the idea. "Oh, heavens no!" he said. "Anybody that is a graduate of Alabama--that only enhances their chances. We would always give them the longest look and the benefit of the doubt in every situation."

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