Another Myth?

There is some irony in Jeff Rouzie having played an outstanding game against Southern Cal in 1970. Rouzie's performance notwithstanding, USC demoloished Bama, 42-21. And that game has given rise to the myth of Sam Cunningham visiting the Alabama lockerroom following the game. And now Rouzie may be part of another myth.

Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News notes that Jeff Rouzie told an NCAA inquirer that Coach Paul Bryant had told his staff to not get too close to Logan Young and that any coach who did would be fired.

In addition to being a very fine player for Alabama, Rouzie was a good assistant football coach, serving under Bryant, 1976-81, then under Gene Stallings and Mike DuBose in the 1990s.

I am not questioning Scarbinsky, who is correct in writing that Rouzie said it. The problem is, other assistants on Bryant's staff don't have the same memory.

Bobby Marks doesn't remember it. "I have no recollection of Coach Bryant saying anything about his staff having an association with Logan Young," Marks said. "I knew Logan casually, and ran into him from time-to-time, but he was Coach Bryant's friend, not mine."

Marks played for Coach Bryant at Texas A&M and then coached wide receivers at Alabama. After Ray Perkins replaced Bryant (and fired most of the offensive staff), Marks became an NFL scout. He's now retired and living in Tuscaloosa.

One thing Marks remembered is that Young–the disassociated booster from Memphis–was often in the press box. Marks was one of the coaches who worked from the coaches' booth in the press box. Young was given credentials by Charley Thornton. Thornton was assistant athletics director for sports information and handled football credentials.

Everyone who believes that Thornton would have been giving credentials to Young without Bryant's permission doff his dunce cap.

Jack Rutledge, who played on Bryant's first national championship team in 1961 and coached for him at Bama 1966-82, said, "Coach Bryant didn't ever say anything like that to me. That really doesn't sound like anything he would say. Logan was Coach Bryant's friend. Coach Bryant's last game was in Memphis and Logan was around a lot that week at the hotel and at practice. He was always welcome."

I also talked to Clem Gryska, who was recruiting coordinator for Coach Bryant. "Coach Bryant never said anything like that that I am aware of," Gryska said. "Logan was a very good friend of Coach Bryant."

An important amendment:

t has been brought to my attention that there is no known affidavit or deposition or any other published document in which Jeff Rouzie says that Coach Bryant told his staff (or anyone else) to avoid Logan Young.

It turns out that in the testimony before the NCAA Committee On Infractions, our pal Rich Johanningmeier (would you buy a used car from this man?) said it was his opinion following his conversation with Rouzie that Rouzie believed this to be the case. According to the transcript of the COI hearing, Mal Moore (as a longtime assistant under Coach Bryant) was asked about this and told the committee it was not true.

Now, maybe Scarbinsky has access to some documents that are not public that substantiate the Johanningmeier claim, or maybe he interviewed Jeff (but in that case you would think that it might have been made clear that Rouzie had been interviewed on this matter).

I don't know if Jeff Rouzie said this or not, but as of right now I have no evidence (Johanningmeier's word would rank well below believable) that it is true. Which would square with what other coaches from the era say.

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