Saban Recruits One Of The Best

Steve Sloan has had mixed results when teaming up with Alabama head football coaches. As a Crimson Tide player, Sloan did well, quarterbacking the team of Coach Paul Bryant to the 1965 national championship. As director of athletics, Sloan had a less satisfactory situation with Bill Curry serving as Bama head coach.

Now Steve Sloan, who is retired from a career in athletics and living in the Orlando area, will be a part of a golf duo representing The University of Alabama. Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban is an excellent recruiter and could hardly have done better in choosing a former Alabama football star to play golf with Saban in the Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge.

Last year, Saban teamed with UA great Johnny Musso and the Crimson Tide duo posted a score of -10. The finish was good for a third-place tie and earned $37,500 in scholarship donations for the University of Alabama. Saban will join Sloan this year. Sloan, who played quarterback at UA from 1962-65, is well known in the world of college athletics for his years as a head football coach and athletics director. Sloan has also long been known as one of the nation's best football coach-golfers.

When he was athletics director at Alabama he tried to play down his golf ability, not wanting Bama fans to think he was shirking work duty for the links (which he was not). Unfortunately for Sloan, it is difficult to have the golf overlooked when one does things such as win a prestigious amateur tournament by eight shots, or make a hole-in-one during the Southeastern Conference annual meetings—while playing with the SEC commissioner. Those were news-making events during Sloan's time as Bama AD.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge will be held at Reynold Plantation Resort on Lake Oconee outside Atlanta beginning Tuesday, April 27. Saban is one of six coaches who have been named national coach of the year who will be participating in the event.

Over the three-day event, several tournament rounds will be played. The complete field of former athletes and celebrities includes four Heisman Trophy winners, 10 members of the College Football Hall of Fame, 20 All-Americans, six Coach of the Year winners, four NFL Hall of Famers and players totaling 51 NFL All-Pro or Pro Bowl selections.

Two-time defending champions Steve Spurrier and Sterling Sharpe from South Carolina will lead an impressive list of top NCAA head coaches and celebrities. In all, 12 teams are scheduled to hit the links in the featured event, all vying for the $120,000 first-place scholarship prize.

"From a golf standpoint, this might be the strongest field we've ever had in this tournament," said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO. "Not only are they highly competitive on the football field, but they are ultra competitive when competing for this championship – especially with our largest scholarship purse yet on the line."

The field also includes former Alabama player Dabo Swinney, now head coach at Clemson, who will be playing with Dwight Clark. Other teams are Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher and Terrell Buckley, Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson and Jon Barry, Maryland's Ralph Friedgen and Stan Gelbaugh, Ole Miss' Houston Nutt and Wesley Walls, North Carolina's Butch Davis and Natrone Means, North Carolina State's Tom O'Brien and Sidney Lowe, Vanderbilt's Bobby Johnson and Will Perdue, Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer and Dell Curry, and Wake Forest's Jim Grobe and Billy Packer.

The tournament is being taped by ESPN for broadcast in the fall. The date of the broadcast will be announced this summer.

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