Monthly Archives: June 2009

Good Tuesday (afternoon) update

My apologies for the tardiness of this daily posting. It really was a slow day in the sporting world of Alabama. There is nothing new with the NCAA case and Nick Saban has not signed a new contract. I guess that is just how it goes on a lazy day in late June.

So I will get to work on a second story from Monday’s SEC basketball coaches’ teleconference. Crimson Tide coach Anthony Grant didn’t reveal much in yesterday’s call, but there were still interesting nuggets that came out of the call.

Read Wednesday’s paper for a story looking at the conference’s return to power after a lacking 2008-09 season. There wasn’t a coach who said anything about the league slipping into a permanent state of mediocrity.

Read more Wednesday and check back on the blog in case anything interesting pops up.

Alabama 30th in final Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings

So the Tide is 30th in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings? What does that mean exactly? Well, according to the scoring system, Alabama had the 30th best overall athletic performance in the 2008-09 season.

Overall, Crimson Tide sports racked up 650.60 points, well behind champion Stanford who scored 1,455. North Carolina was second, Florida third, USC fourth and Michigan was fifth.

To see how programs are scored, click here.

For the complete standings, click here.

UPDATED: SEC basketball teleconference

Here are a few notes from Monday morning’s Southeastern Conference teleconference:

  • New Kentucky coach John Calipari has been the subject of several questions. Most everyone agrees that his presence will only raise the bar in the league although not everyone is looking forward to playing the Cats.
  • Tennessee’s Bruce Pearl said having Kentucky among the elite has been a long-lasting tradition in the SEC. For a while, that hurt the league because they were the only elite. But the rise of programs like Florida has risen the standard for everyone.
  • The consensus also agrees that the conference will be back this winter. Last season’s slip from the elite was not a permanent shift.
  • Anthony Grant was on for about half the time Calipari spent asking questions.
  • He he no updates on scheduling but hopes to have that done soon. Kansas State released its schedule recently and it included a game with the Crimson Tide in Mobile.
  • In regards to working with his team, Grant said he didn’t know every player from a “basketball standpoint.” Interesting.
  • Unsurprisingly, Grant said he was excited about the new basketball practice facility.
  • Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury congratulated former Decatur Daily sports writer Kyle Veazey on his recent engagement in one of the lighter moments of the 90 minute teleconference. Veazey now covers the Bulldogs for the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Mississippi.

Good Monday morning update

It’s that time again to take a daily look at what is making news in the Alabama athletics universe.

The new weekday tradition will take a different tone today as the Southeastern Conference basketball teleconference is underway. Stop back on the blog to read all about what the coaches have to say about the upcoming season.

So I’ll get back with you in a little bit.

Jump in the time machine: Video of McClain in high school

Look what I found on YouTube. Since I wasn’t working here when this was released, I’m not sure how widely viewed this video was so I thought I’d share it with you anyway.

It is from a documentary called “The Recruit” that followed a group of high school seniors from around the state of Alabama as they chose a college. Decatur High’s Rolando McClain was featured in just the first of the three parts of the show. It offers an interesting look back to who one of the nation’s best linebackers was in high school.

Skip to the 3:04 mark if you’re only interested in McClain.

Good Friday morning update

It’s that time again to take a daily look at what is making news in the Alabama athletics universe.

  • Alonzo Gee was not selected last night in the NBA Draft. That really wasn’t much of a surprise, so now he will likely try to make an NBA roster in the summer leagues. Also, there were no SEC players taken in the first round for the first time since 2004.
  • Crimson Tide assistant football coaches don’t typically speak much publicly, but one was saying positive things about star incoming freshman Trent Richardson yesterday. Read this story to see what I’m talking about.
  • There is nothing new on the possible contract extension for Nick Saban, but there are still people writing about it. Click here to see what Chris Low of has to say about the possibility.

What are you guys thinking about Saban’s contract? Is it a pressing issue for Alabama fans or just another item to read in a newspaper (or blog). Comment below.

Alabama releases Notice of Appeal

The university just sent out its official notification of appeal. In the document, it states Alabama will appeal only the 21 vacated wins and not the $43,000 fine or the three years of probation.

The report does not list a specific reason for the appeal but the only possible basis for appealing a penalty would be claiming it is excessive. That “excessive” word was one used by President Robert Witt last week.

Check back for more later on.

AP: Saban in talks to extend contract

From what Nick Saban told us last week, he was going on vacation this week. But according to a story now on the wire, contract talks are underway. Although likely something handled by an agent, it can’t be very restful.

Here is the latest from the Associated Press:

Saban reportedly in talks on contract extension

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is reportedly negotiating a contract extension with football coach Nick Saban.

The Birmingham News reported Thursday that the talks are in the preliminary phase and are focused more on increasing the length of Saban’s deal than on a big pay raise.

The newspaper cited unnamed sources.

Saban led the Crimson Tide to a 12-0 regular season in his second year, including a 36-0 victory over Auburn.

An Alabama spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Saban has six years left on an eight-year, $32 million deal that made him the highest paid coach at a public institution at his hiring.

Saban is set to make $3.9 million in salary this season.

What do you think? Is Richard Petty on Bear Bryant’s level?

Read and react to the following selection for an story about Richard Petty.

“Kyle likens his father to former Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, who stalked the Crimson Tide sideline for 25 years before stepping down at the age of 69 with more wins than anyone in Division I at that time.

A year later, he passed away.”[Bryant] just wanted to stand with the players and be a part of the game he loved so much,” Kyle said. “That’s the way Richard Petty is. He still just wants to be a part of something he loves so much.”

Joked Petty, “I’m a hardhead. That’s the reason I keep coming back.”

Good Thursday morning update

It’s that time again to take a daily look at what is making news in the Alabama athletics universe.

  • As noted last night, LSU beat Texas for the opportunity to make a dogpile at the College World Series. A few lucky Tigers even got a shot at interviewing by Erin Andrews.
  • Speaking of my favorite sideline reporter, Andrews caught up with LSU football coach Les Miles. See what they spoke about here.
  • The adventure continues for former Alabama lineman Andre Smith. Read this story about his adventure on the back roads of the Midwest. Coming from someone who recently moved from the region, the cornfields can hypnotize you.
  • Also on the topic of the sometimes troubled Outland Trophy winner, this Bengals beat writer expects a lengthy holdout.
  • Read how summer football camp differs under Nick Saban as opposed to the days of Mike Shula here.

LSU wins College World Series

The school who eliminated Alabama from the Southeastern Conference Tournament finished its season with a national title Wednesday night. From the Associated Press:

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — LSU, which two years ago wasn’t good enough to qualify for its conference tournament, is the best team in college baseball again.

The Tigers won their sixth national title Wednesday night, breaking open Game 3 of the College World Series finals with a five-run sixth inning that carried them to an 11-4 victory over Texas.

Jared Mitchell hit a three-run homer in the first inning as LSU (56-17) built a 4-0 lead. Texas (50-16-1) pulled even, but Mikie Mahtook’s tie-breaking double ignited the Tigers’ big sixth against the mistake-prone Longhorns.

Anthony Ranaudo (12-3) got the win in a so-so outing that saw him allow four runs on eight hits and five walks in 5 1-3 innings. Brandon Workman (3-5) took the loss.

Media guides: Keep ’em or leave ’em?

They are a stable for sports writers and the topic of a new debate among those on the inside of college football. Media guides can be one of the most useful tools for guys in my profession so their threatened existence would be an issue. (Click here for Alabama’s 2008 media guide for an example. The picture is the cover.)

It is important enough for the Football Writers Association to address in this online column.

Now in my time, I’ve seen good and bad in the world of media guides. As mentioned in the column, I’ve come across some that have almost no use to the media. They are simply brag books for recruits to devour. Recently, I found an Alabama football media guide from a few years ago that contained none of those important records or season-by-season results that are a must for a useful media guide.

That just stinks. And it should be changed.

With the kind of money these athletic departments are spending, it shouldn’t be too much of a bother to produce useful record books for the media to reference at a moment’s notice. A good beat writer will memorize the location of every key section and that shouldn’t have to be done on online while rushing to meet a deadline.

It sounds trivial and possible like a silly complaint/request. But, in the end, it is the product you pay for that suffers if statistical or historical perspective can’t be made in the stories we write.

NBA Draft Thursday, does Gee have a shot?

This is just a teaser to read Thursday’s paper where I will explore the possibility of Alabama’s Alonzo Gee being drafted in the NBA Draft on Thursday evening.

The job of predicting draft outcomes is impossible, so I won’t even try. But I did speak with an instructor whose been working with Gee since the college season ended and he has good things to say about his expanded skill set.

But that’s all I will tell you for now. Pick up a copy for Thursday’s Decatur Daily to read more and watch the draft starting at 6 p.m. CST Thursday on ESPN.

And while I have your attention, I’d encourage you to use one of the newer features of this new blog. On the left-hand side of the page, you will find a poll that will be changed each week. Vote.

Good Wednesday morning update

It’s time again to take a look at what is making news in the Alabama athletics universe.

  • The web is loaded with stories about Alabama Football Network founder Bert Bank’s death including the one I wrote. Check out a few more here, here and here. He was a member of that special generation of Americans and will certainly by missed by those who knew him.
  • The College World Series is down to a winner-take-all Game 3 tonight after LSU couldn’t finish off Texas last night in Omaha. The 5-1 Longhorn win means one final game and I wouldn’t recommend missing it.
  • In case you missed it, check out this column I wrote for Wednesday’s paper. Let me know if you agree/disagree in the comment section below.
  • No shocker here: Tim Tebow was selected as the SEC male athlete of the year. There is no denying that guy’s ability.

Football network founder Bert Bank dies

From the Assoicated Press this afternoon:

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Bert Bank, a World War II veteran who became a state legislator and founded the Alabama Football Network, has died.

Relatives said Bank died Monday night in Tuscaloosa at age 94. He had been admitted to a hospital over the weekend.

Bank survived the Bataan Death March in World War II. Then he was twice elected to the Alabama House of Representatives and once to the state Senate.

Bank founded two radio stations in Tuscaloosa and started the Alabama Football Network to produce Crimson Tide football games. He remained producer emeritus until his death.

The family has not announced funeral arrangements.

I just found a video of Bank receiving an honorary degree from the university last December.