Moore moves to solidify staff

With the selection of a new head coach imminent, Tide Athletics Director Mal Moore has also moved to lock up one of the most valuable members of Bama's previous staff.

Many people deserve credit for Alabama's recent on-the-field success, but no one coach has done any more than Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Ben Pollard.

Pollard had the chance to go to Texas A&M last week, along with the rest of the previous staff. But he remained behind overseeing the conditioning program for the Crimson Tide squad. Late this afternoon learned from a source very close to the situation that Pollard will remain at Alabama, continuing in the same capacity.

The news will come as a relief to the Alabama family.

Among the most knowledgeable fans in the nation, Tide supporters recognized the excellent work Pollard has done since taking over in January of 2001. Franchione and several members of the previous staff have been sharply criticized for the way they mishandled the recent move, but at the same time countless fans have expressed their hopes that Pollard would remain.

Pollard jokes with Theo Sanders in the Tide weight room. Under Pollard's direction, the Tide athletes have made steady gains in strength.

A native of Lubbock, Texas, Pollard had spent his entire professional career in the Lone Star State. But from the moment he arrived in Tuscaloosa, he formed a close bond with the Tide players.

Though he was careful not to violate any protocol, in private he made clear his desire to remain at Alabama and finish the job he started.

In between junkets around the Southeast to take care of the coaching search, Coach Moore found time to meet with Pollard several times the past few days and lock up the energetic young coach.

During the off season Pollard is the "head coach" for the Alabama players, directing workouts and interacting closely with the athletes on a daily basis. Under his direction the Tide squad has enjoyed steady across-the-board gains on all strength levels.

An outstanding motivator, Pollard is widely liked and respected by the Tide players. And his presence on the new staff will go a long way toward establishing a sense of continuity for the Alabama squad.

Pollard's wife, Leslie, has family in the Birmingham area. The couple has three children, sons Ben and Everett and daughter Melissa. Since moving to Tuscaloosa, the Pollard family has put down roots in the community.

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