'Bama expected to hire Shula over Croom

Sylvester Croom probably will be edged out by Mike Shula as the next football coach for the University of Alabama, according to many reports. Croom is one of three candidates who were interviewed in recent days for the position, which was vacated when the university fired Mike Price.<p>

Shula was interviewed in Florida on Sunday while Croom and Williamson interviewed with Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore and President Robert Witt in Atlanta on Monday. All three men are former players and alumni of Alabama.

Croom played center for Alabama ('72-'74) and also served as an assistant coach for the Tide from 1976 through 1986. Since then he's coached running backs for Tampa Bay, San Diego and Green Bay. He also served a stint as offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions.

The son of Don Shula, the NFL's all-time coaching leader in terms of victories, Mike Shula played quarterback for Alabama from 1983 to 1986. So far he's spent his entire coaching career in the NFL. Shula served as offensive assistant, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator with Tampa Bay. He is now working as quarterbacks coach for the Dolphins.

Williamson played wide receiver at Alabama in '61 and '62. On the college level he has served two stints as assistant coach at Alabama and one at Arkansas. He was also head coach at Memphis State from 1975-1980. Since then Williamson has worked in the NFL, coaching with the Chiefs, Buccaneers and Bengals, before joining his present team the Carolina Panthers.

Sources told BamaMag.com that all three interviews went well, but that was especially true for Croom and Williamson.

Interestingly, Coach Moore indicated to reporters Monday that his list included four "and possibly one more" name.

All three of the known candidates have indicated they would accept the job if offered.

Price, hired in December and already warned about his off-field behavior, spent hundreds of dollars at a Pensacola, Fla., topless bar on April 16. A woman reportedly ordered about $1,000 in food from room service sent to his hotel room the following morning. An attorney for Price told the Birmingham newspaper that he's considering appealing the termination.

Alabama players left a meeting with university president Robert Witt and athletic director Mal Moore on Wednesday confident that they would have a new coach by the weekend _ and that he'd have worn the crimson and white jersey.

"They said we'd know something by Saturday _ definitely," offensive lineman Justin Smiley said.

As of Wednesday night, no sitting college coach had been officially contacted by Alabama, according to BamaMag.com. Jacksonville Jaguars coach Coughlin has also told reporters that he has had no contact with Coach Moore.

Many media reports have described Shula as the leading candidate.

Packer Report Top Stories