Sports Outside the Beltway

Did Alabama Sabotage UAB Hire of Jimbo Fisher?

Ben Cook of Lindy’s Sports writes about a far-fetched scenario in the Alabama head coaching search:

Everything came out in the open last week when the UAB Blazers of Conference USA were ready to hire LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher as their head coach. All that remained was ironing out the details. It was to be for $600,000 a year, most of which was going to be covered by some influential UAB supporters. But then the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama system (which includes the University of Alabama, UAB and UAH) stepped in and said that UAB could not hire Fisher. They claimed it was because of financial considerations, but that excuse doesn’t hold water since the bulk of Fisher’s salary was going to be covered by boosters.

Apparently, the Board of Trustees realized UAB was about to hire the most coveted assistant coach in the country. They realized It also could mean that UAB might wind up with a better coach than Alabama, and the idea panicked the Board of Trustees. They decided that couldn’t happen, so they stepped in and overstepped the boundaries of a Board. They took the hiring of UAB’s coach right out of UAB’s hands. Not only did they not allow UAB to hire Fisher, they then imposed their own handpicked candidate on UAB. They strongly suggested Neil Callaway, Georgia’s offensive coordinator, was the acceptable choice for UAB.

The Board will deny the Callaway link, but after the Fisher debacle there is no other explanation for UAB turning to Callaway, a former Alabama player with no head coaching experience that no other school on the planet was looking to hire. Fisher had no head coaching experience either, but he has been coveted by schools before and will be again; Callaway has not. Fisher is thought to be the next Bob Stoops waiting to happen; Callaway is not.There is one other possible explanation. The Alabama job is still open and there are plenty in Tuscaloosa who believe Nick Saban is going to leave the Miami Dolphins after Miami’s season ends. If Saban were to actually take the UA job, perhaps he would bring his old offensive coordinator from LSU with him, and that would be Jimbo Fisher. Then, in four of five years when Saban got the inevitable itch to move on, it would be an easy move to elevate Fisher to the head coaching job at Alabama, which could be what the UA Board of Trustees wants all along.That way they could achieve two goals–they could get one of the hottest coaches in the country at Alabama and simultaneously knock the pins out from under the UAB football program, making sure it continued to struggle along until perhaps just giving up the ghost and dropping football. That would delight the University of Alabama Board of Trustees.

It’s rather bizarre, to be sure, but Alabama football is a pretty strange phenomenon.

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Posted by BEV | January 6, 2007 | 11:10 pm | Permalink

No question, except the Unuh-vuhs-tee didn’t technically have anything to do with it, just our “impartial” Chairman of the UA Board of Trustees, Alabama booster Paul Bryant Jr.

Posted by saxyman1004 | November 9, 2007 | 12:53 pm | Permalink

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