For Example

There are all sorts of reasons for a football coach to want to have "Alabama" on his record. Dennis Franchione's eyes almost teared as he spoke of coaching on the same sidelines that Coach Bryant had. (Of course, Franchione is still doing that at Texas A&M.) Beyond the Crimson Tide name, there are practical reasons Bama Athletics Director Mal Moore has much to offer.

Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore won't have to give head football coaching candidates a tour of the Bryant Museum or take a walk down the Hall of Champions in the Mal M. Moore Athletics Complex. Football men know what Alabama football is. They know about the championships, the bowl records, the All-Americans.

And have you noticed that teams that win championships have usually won a few in the past? There will be the occassional title for a team every 50 years or so, but for the most part the crowns are worn year after year by the likes of Alabama, Notre Dame, Southern Cal, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, etc.

Teams with a chance to win national championships are going to have good records, which reflects well on the head coach.

And college football being what it is, those good records for good coaches result in nice paydays. Just as an example, a man like Steve Spurrier is making $1.3 million per year at South Carolina. That could be $2 million at Alabama. (Again, that was just an example. Don't read anything into that.)

Alabama has the wherewithal to pay big bucks. And because Mal Moore has proved he can bring it in, he will have an open checkbook in his current national search.

Bama won't be going hat-in-hand for a new coach. Moore will expect some credentials, too. Just as an example, he would probably be interested in having a coach who had been in the national championship picture, preferably a coach who had won a national championship. (Just as an example, Steve Spurrier.)

Although Dennis Franchione said he wasn't worried about facilities when he took the job as Alabama head coach ("You can lift weights outside in the rain," he said when asked about Bama's lack of a big time weightroom), there is no question that having top facilities is a major plus. And Alabama's are second to none.

To a football coach, the weight room and office building and practice fields and indoor facility and, of course, the stadium are very, very important. Alabama's are second to none.

Beyond that, a competent football coach knows that there must be a good academic support system in place. When Alabama made renovation of Bryant Hall into an unmatched academic center for athletics, the Crimson Tide moved to the head of the class in that area. (Think it wasn't noticed? Just as an example, South Carolina recently announced plans to build a new academic center.)

Although a head football coach knows offense, defense and special teams, it is not uncommon for a coach to have greater expertise and interest in one area and leave another to a trusted assistant. (Just as an example, Steve Spurrier serves pretty much as his own offensive coordinator and play caller and leaves the defense to his coordinator.) A new Alabama coach may bring all new assistants, but if he was looking for a good defensive coordinator, he would know that Bama has a candidate under contract in Joe Kines.

Or, just as an example, he might be old friends with Bama defensive coaching legend Bill "Brother" Oliver, who could be enticed back to action.

Alabama's next head coach is not going to have to battle through some of the problems that Mike Shula had. (To be fair, Shula probably had the most difficult job any man has ever faced in college football coaching.)

When Shula arrived, the Tide had been hamstrung by unprecedented NCAA penalties against the program. He had limited scholarships in both the overall and yearly signing limits. He fought through that and the new coach will have no sanctions.

Alabama's probation ends February 1. The squad is already back to ther 85 limit (though some of those were not initial signees) and the Tide can sign up to 25 each year.

One advantage a new head coach will have is a lot of young, yet experienced, players. This year's squad included about two-thirds of the 85 scholarshipped players being either freshmen or sophomores in eligibility.

One of those sophomores in 2006 was an outstanding quarterback. Returning starting quarterback John Parker Wilson has two more years of eligibility, and that has to be a plus for the next head coach. (Of course, just as an example, Steve Spurrier wouldn't worry too much about which quarterback he had to work with, and he would have no doubts he would be able to go out and sign a great one.)

And getting good players for the Crimson Tide has the built-in advantage of The University being in a great football state. Although the numbers aren't as great as in states like Florida and Georgia, the players and coaches in Alabama high schools are high level. In-state players have been the backbone of Alabama's exraordinary tradition.

Alabama's fan base is a plus is some areas, a minus in others. This year's incident in which a bottle was thrown from the student section and hit an Auburn player was disgraceful. That would seem to be an extension of the ridiculous "We just beat the hell out of you" cheer after squeaking by the likes of Duke. Or booing Vanderbilt when the Commodores run on the field! Or doing the wave. And too many being out of control on talk radio and internet sites, vicious and unreasonable.

It's good that expectations are high, as Gene Stallings has said. But it's bad when those with expectations are unreasonable. It would be nice that along with a new head coach that Alabama fans found their way back to being educated sportsmen.

Finally, and just as an example, Alabama's next head football coach won't ever see University President Dr. Robert E. Witt in a bowtie.


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