Demands on Franchione's time countless

Besides being one of the Top 10 active college football coaches based on career wins, Tide Head Coach Dennis Franchione could probably make big money as an efficiency expert in business--should he ever decide to leave his day job. But few fans have a full appreciation of the constant demands on his time. <br><br>Besides his principal responsibility of returning Alabama to its traditional place atop the SEC, he also just happens to be the most recognizable celebrity in the state.

And scores of very deserving causes and charities seek out his help. "It can get overwhelming if I let it," Franchione frankly acknowledged. "You definitely have to pick and choose, because you can't do everything. I could schedule things twice a day and every day of the year…

"Or more."

Kim and Dennis Franchione

Like Tide coaches before him, Franchione and his wife Kim have recently established Coach Fran Charities, a foundation to benefit numerous worthwhile causes and organizations dear to their hearts. The first checks went to Big Oak Ranch for youths located near Gadsden, which is operated by former Crimson Tider John Croyle and his family and to the choir at Tuscaloosa Central High School, where Dennis and Kim's daughter Libby is nearing the end of her junior year.

Although the Franchiones plan to support many different efforts over the coming years, one of the primary areas of concern to them is education, so the charity organization will be especially focused on issues such as literacy, reading, the arts, and life skills for children. Further information can be found at CoachFran.com.

One of the reasons Franchione wanted to come to Alabama was the overwhelming support its fans give to the football program. So he understands the obligations that go along with being head coach of the Crimson Tide.

But he also knows all too well that he was hired to do a job. "You do have to understand that you have an obligation to the people of Alabama and a responsibility to do what you can," he explained. "But you always have to keep in mind what's important. And that's the fact that I was hired to win football games."

In her duties as Administrative Football Secretary, Dee Gibson fields most of the requests from individuals and organizations hoping to involve Franchione in their cause. And without question Franchione could be scheduled somewhere for some worthy event virtually 365 days a year.

But obviously he has to budget his time. "I'm trying to be involved personally with the state and the community," Franchione said. "But I'm not going to let that hurt my football team. You want to do as much as you can for people.

"But in the long run they're going to like me or dislike me based on how many games I win."

Shown signing a football for a fan as he waits for the program to begin at an alumni dinner function, Franchione could spend his entire year on the road, handling countless speaking and charity engagements--IF his time and energy permitted.

Of course with his base salary set at over a million dollars a year, Franchione also understands that fans don't want to hear him complain. "I never dreamed of salaries at this level--you could never envision that," he said. "Of course I'm not sure you don't earn every penny of whatever it is. The demands of being a college coach today are much more difficult than a lot of people know.

"It's hard to find time to take off. It's hard to find time to be away. With a program like ours you have to be on top of things every day. Motivation is an every-day deal. There are so many things for you to do externally today as a college football coach. I think you earn every bit of what you get."

Bama Athletics Director Mal Moore is doing the "heavy lifting," but recently Franchione has been involved with the planning of Alabama's $100 million capital improvement campaign. The various projects will directly benefit every single Alabama sport. But a new weight room on the ground floor of an annex to the existing Football Complex, a new locker room, the addition of state-of-the art training facilities and the complete refurbishment of Bryant Hall into an academic support center--are Franchione's principal concerns.

"Of course I want to take care of football," Franchione acknowledged. "So I'm probably biased in that regard. The academic center, Bryant Hall, the weight room and the locker room and the Indoor facility. Those are the things that are on the front burner for me."

Appearances are also important. And while it was the envy of college football when it was built by Ray Perkins during the 1980s, the carpet and other furnishings in the Football Complex have frankly seen better days. "We'd like to refurbish our building here and modernize it a little bit," Franchione said. "It would benefit from an updated touch. Those are the things that need to happen."


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