In recent days, it has come to my attention that several of you are unsatisfied with our current state of affairs in the athletic department.
I'll leave the brick throwers of the world to debate which athletic department I mean. By no means do I include all Alabama fans in that category.
Whenever I have experienced disappointment with an event in our athletic department, it has been my experience to just get away from the fallout of that event as much as possible. I do not read newspapers, I do not listen to call in shows, and I certainly do not log in to the web.
This morning, a long-time friend of mine told me he was blasted by the lunatic fringe for his stance in defending Dennis Franchione on this very board Sunday afternoon. I will not mention this friend's identification other than to say he is a frequent poster on this board. Since I've known him for roughly sixteen years, I've known him to be a TIRELESS supporter of UA athletics. He buys tickets, gives of himself, and never asks anything from the University other than a quality product. I can assure you that only those who played for or worked in our athletic department are more disappointed than he is at not winning a game. Several of you accused him of "settling for losing."
That was terribly presumptuous of you.
Now, I don't listen to call in shows or read columnists' words after a loss because I don't want to be reminded of it. I am usually at the games or watching on TV. I've seen Alabama play live from the Meadowlands to Oahu, so I generally know what is going on in the athletic department from a fan's standpoint.
But the biggest reason I don't read the web or view/listen to various press outlets is because I don't give a damn for people who want to throw up their hands and quit when we don't go 13-0 every season. I'm sick and tired of you "brick throwers" who want to fire somebody just because he doesn't start out of the gate like a house ablaze.
Let me ask you members of "The Fellowship of the Miserable" what you would rather have, a guy who builds something we can hang our hats on in a couple of years, or a guy like Terry Bowden who starts out winning his first 20 games and then goes flat as hell and resigns in the middle of the season?
Some of you think we've hired Jerry Faust as head coach. Some of you are the same ones who LAUDED Mal Moore's decision last winter as "the best hire since 1958." I also heard Ronnie Cottrell referred to by those exact same words at an alumni gathering two years ago at The Mountain Brook Inn.
Those of you who want to dismantle what Dennis Franchione has only begun to build should keep your mouths shut and your thoughts to yourself. If you are capable of coaching better or playing better, get in your car, go to Tuscaloosa, and camp out in the parking lot of the Coliseum until Mal Moore comes out to interview you. When he does, tell him that you will take the job no questions asked. Tell him you don't need a lawyer to work out a deal, you don't need to ask your wives what they think of it, you don't care what the compensation is, nothing. Tell Mal Moore you're better at evaluating talent and making it a team, regardless.
And by the way, you've brought a dozen or so of your closest friends here with you, and they're ready to pitch in and help with recruiting and anything else that goes with building a winning football program. You and your cronies know all about it.
All of you whiners make me want to gag! You are the very reason that football becomes so damned excruciating. When you guys start moaning and groaning, what do you think it accomplishes? Do you think Andrew Sorensen is going to read your remarks and drive to your office so he can pin a medal on you and have his picture made shaking your hand for the local paper? Do you know what you do when you get on a radio call-in show or the web or write a newspaper's sound-off column with your bits of bitter insight? All you really do is make the opposition laugh with delight at your frustrations.
The genesis of our football tradition began with Wallace Wade. In the early 30s when he experienced a tough time and some fans complained about how he ran his shop, he told 'em to go to hell. He took his act to Duke, won another Rose Bowl, and had a stadium named after him. When Paul Bryant went 6-5-1 in 1970 and everyone grumbled, Joe Robbie of the Miami Dolphins heard it. He had Bryant sealed and ready to sign for delivery when David Matthews said, "Wait a minute, coach. You can't really be serious. What do fans know anyway?" We now know that John McKay wouldn't come here, and Bryant changed his offense.
Reckon what we would've done if McKay had said yes, and Dr. Matthews had said, "Okey-doke, Paul, good luck." Well, there'd be at least three less national championship trophies in the old trophy case, not to mention eight less southeastern conference crowns as well.
One thing wrong with LSU is its lack of continuity. The best coach they've had, statistically or otherwise since their last national championship in 1958, they ran off because he was only going 10-1 every year. His name was Charley McClendon. Before the 1979 season, they told Charley Mac that this was his last year. He responded by losing only two games. He lost to the teams who split the national championship that year, Alabama and USC.
The bayou hasn't been the same since.
LSU has suffered through a revolving door of could-have-been coaches. The names are endless....the ill-fated Bo Rein, Jerry Stovall, Mike Archer, Curley Hallman, Gerry DiNardo. Only Bill Arnsparger has had reasonable success there, and he left after a short tenure because college coaching just wasn't really his bag. Now they have another "savior." This savior lost last year to UAB. Wonder how long it will take before they begin to look for another "savior?" How would the whiners of the world like it if Alabama suffers through the same turmoil as LSU for another 20 years?
You naysayers and whiners had better shut your mouths about Dennis Franchione. So what if he came from Pittsburgh State? I guarantee you that that part of Kansas is probably a little more glamorous than Moro Bottom, Arkansas. Maybe even Paris, Texas, too. Some of us are going to have to learn to be patient with a guy who is facing the task of making us proud of whatever we think a football program should be. If you don't shut up, we might just have ourselves another Wallace Wade-style abdication here in a couple of years.
Then who ya gonna call?
I welcome your comments...any and all.
R. J. Head
UA - 1983