Skip to comments.Bama to Hire Mike Shula
Posted on 05/07/2003 11:44:58 PM PDT by LSUsoph
TUSCALOOSA | University of Alabama officials have completed the search process for a head football coach and made a job offer, The Tuscaloosa News learned on Wednesday. Several media sources, including the Miami Herald and ESPN Radio, reported on Wednesday night that Mike Shula, the former Crimson Tide quarterback and current Miami Dolphins assistant coach, was expected to receive the offer and accept the job.
Shula could be officially named to the position as soon as today if he accepts the post.
A source close to the Crimson Tide search said that UA director of athletics Mal Moore and University President Robert Witt decided on Wednesday afternoon to end the search for a replacement to Mike Price, who was fired last Saturday for issues related to his off-the-field conduct. That left only the three previously interviewed candidates -- Shula, running backs coach Sylvester Croom of the Green Bay Packers and wide receivers coach Richard Williamson of the Carolina Panthers -- in contention. Moore came to a final decision on Wednesday evening, that same source said. Neither Shula, who was at his home in Davie, Fla., nor Moore were immediately available for comment Wednesday night.
On Wednesday afternoon, Moore and Witt had met with members of the Alabama football team and told them that a new coach could be in place by the weekend.
"We're optimistic that we will be able to make a decision relatively soon," Witt told reporters following the meeting.
"It sounds pretty much like they have their guy and they are just trying to get things ironed out," said Tide offensive lineman Justin Smiley.
"They said they were getting very close," said tight end Clint Johnston. "They didn't tell us any names, but I think any of the three coaches who have been mentioned would be great."
Shula is entering his third season as the Dolphins' quarterbacks coach. He was named to his present position by head coach Dave Wannstedt in 2000.
Shula was a four-year letterman (1983-86) as a quarterback at the University of Alabama, where he started each of his final three seasons. He completed 298 of 552 passes for 3,881 yards with 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in his collegiate career. He was a two-time All-SEC selection and led the Crimson Tide to victories in the Aloha Bowl and Sun Bowl over his final two seasons. As a junior, he became only the second Alabama quarterback ever to throw for more than 2,000 yards in a season. He earned his bachelor's degree in labor relations from Alabama. Shula was a 12th-round draft choice of Tampa Bay in 1987 and was on the Bucs' roster for part of the '87 season.
Price was fired Saturday for what Witt said was inappropriate behavior in connection with Price's visit to a topless bar in Pensacola on April 16 and a woman's $1,000 room service order billed to his hotel room the next morning.
Price said in an interview with The Birmingham News that he was "too drunk to really know" what happened during a wild night in Pensacola, Fla., on April 16 that led to his firing by Witt on Saturday. He denied a Sports Illustrated report that he had sex with two women in a Pensacola, Fla., hotel room and had earlier propositioned female students in Tuscaloosa or bought alcohol for students in bars.
Aaron Price, one of Price's sons, answered the door at the coach's house Wednesday and said they would have no comment at this time. A "for sale" sign was out front.
Under university regulations, Price has 10 days to appeal his dismissal. Witt said the university intended to proceed with its hiring of a new coach regardless of the 10-day appeals period. An attempt to reach Price's lawyer, Stephen Heninger, to determine whether Price would appeal his firing was unsuccessful.
Price had a seven-year, $10 million deal with UA but he never signed a contract. Witt said Wednesday that no severance deal had been worked out and that it was his position that Price should not receive any severance.
Meanwhile, Price's home in NorthRiver, which he purchased from former UA coach Dennis Franchione after Franchione abruptly left for Texas A&M, went on the market Wednesday with a list price of $895,000.
Cecil Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In conclusion, I believe that our colleges and universities should be places of learning and intense study. Students should pursue their academic subjects with the same vigour that they currently apply to sporting events.
Just no scholarships, or at least no scholarships until the student has been at the University for at least a year. No recruiting. Make them true student athletes.