The Wire

  • Treasure hunters and FBI search for lost Civil War gold in Pennsylvania — NBC Nightly News

    A story that $55 million in Union gold was lost during the Civil War has long been dismissed as a myth — but this week, a team of FBI agents joined the search in rural Pennsylvania.

  • New law can send Alabama owners of vicious dogs to prison —


    In addition to new penalties for owners of dogs that cause injuries, the law sets up a process for people to file a sworn statement that a dog is dangerous, prompting an investigation by an animal control or law enforcement officer. If the investigator finds that the dog is dangerous, the dog will be impounded pending a decision by a municipal or district court.

    If a court determines that a dog is dangerous and has seriously injured or killed a person, the dog will be euthanized. If a court determines that a dog that has not seriously injured a person but is still dangerous, the court could order the dog to be euthanized or to be returned to its owner under strict conditions, including that the dog is microchipped, spayed or neutered and that the owner pay a $100 annual fee, post a $100,000 surety bond and keep the dog in a secure enclosure.

    If a dog that has been previously declared dangerous kills or seriously injures a person, the owner could be charged with a Class B felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison. If a dog that has not been previously declared dangerous kills or seriously injures a person, and the owner knew the dog had a propensity to be dangerous and recklessly disregarded that, the owner could be charged with a Class C felony, punishable by 1 to 10 years.

  • Decatur man pleads guilty to kidnapping and child sex-trafficking charges — Justice Dept.

    A Decatur man pleaded guilty today in federal court to kidnapping and child sex-trafficking charges as part of a detailed plan to hire someone to kidnap a woman and her 14-year-old daughter, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr.

    BRIAN DAVID “Blaze” BOERSMA, 48, entered his guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor to attempted kidnapping of a minor, attempted kidnapping, attempted sex trafficking of a child, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime. A sentencing date has not been set.

    Boersma worked at the Alabama Farmers’ Cooperative in Decatur shuttling trailers from the storage yard to the warehouse where they would be loaded with merchandise for shipment to other locations. His plea agreement with the government lays out his efforts in the fall of 2017 to encourage a co-worker at the co-op to find someone willing to kidnap a woman and her daughter for payment. Boersma, in installments, gave the co-worker $3,440 to hold for a kidnapping payment. The co-worker alerted the FBI to Boersma’s plan in mid-September and the bureau sent two undercover employees to pose as willing kidnappers.


2 months ago

Kirby Smart supposedly took a picture that might put a damper on his friendship with Nick Saban

Kirby Smart and Nick Saban (Wikimedia Commons)


The national championship matchup has a lot of people speculating about the publicly cordial relationship between Nick Saban and his former Tide coaching colleague Kirby Smart, and a recent story by Aaron Suttles of the Tuscaloosa News adds, let’s just say, some drama to the mix.

“The Tuscaloosa News learned that on his way out the door, Smart took a picture of Alabama’s recruiting board, which hangs in the inner sanctum of the Alabama football building, and showed it to recruits who weren’t necessarily at the top of that board,” Suttles wrote. 

Why this matters: Recruiting in college football is as competitive as the games themselves. It’s so big, in fact, that it elicits publications and pundits to rank coaches in terms of how well they do it. If Smart actually took that picture, he not only disrespected his friend in Coach Saban and the entire Alabama team – he committed football treason.

2 months ago

Left-wing activists call on Nick Saban to speak out against Trump’s NFL anthem protest criticisms, decline White House invite

( & White House/Flickr)



In a press release issued Thursday, the liberal activist group CREDO Action boasted about a petition it claims that more than 72,000 people have signed calling on University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban to speak out against President Donald Trump.

The petition encourages Saban to “disavow” Trump’s criticism of the National Anthem protests by NFL players and to pledge to decline an invite to the White House should Alabama emerge victorious in Monday’s college football national championship game against the University of Georgia Bulldogs.

“Take a stand against Donald Trump’s racism. Disavow his hateful critique of NFL protesters who are speaking out against systemic racism and police brutality. Affirm your players’ right to protest and pledge not to take your team to the White House if you win the national championship.”

CREDO Action is the advocacy arm of CREDO, a self-proclaimed “social change organization” and offers fundraising methods for other liberal groups.

Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.

3 months ago

That time Nick Saban chewed me out at a press conference



Looks like I have a new and improved excuse to stand firm as the only non-Crimson Tide fan in my family:

Nick Saban is my trigger.

I’ve been having some strange reactions to sports news lately but I couldn’t think why …

— First, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey announced that SEC Media Days will no longer be held exclusively at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover.

Thinking about SEC Media Days made my eyes start to twitch.

— Then, Phillip Fulmer was named Tennessee’s acting athletic director after John Currie was fired.

My hands began to shake.

— Next, Saban’s defensive coordinator signed on as head football coach for the Volunteers.

SEC Media Days … Phillip Fulmer… Nick Saban … Tennessee … Alabama …

Something about it all made me break out in hives.

And then the memory came back, washing over me in one big wave.

Remember back in the early 2000s when Coach Fulmer was Tennessee’s head coach and he secretly told the SEC and NCAA about a University of Alabama booster who cheated to recruit players? All that led to an NCAA investigation, the booster’s conviction and probation for the Crimson Tide.

I was a news and sports intern at Birmingham’s WBRC in 2003 when Coach Fulmer was one controversial guy in Alabama.

I can’t remember the exact details (and calls and emails to WBRC did not receive a response), but someone in the sports department sent me — unsuspecting, no-clue-me — into SEC Media Days with one question for all the football coaches, along the lines of: “What do you think of what Coach Fulmer did by telling on Alabama?”

Can you even imagine how then-LSU Coach Saban reacted when he realized I was asking him to gossip?

Oh. My. Word.

Whatever he said sent me into a terrified stupor.

In my mind’s eye, he went from looking something like this:


To something like this but worse:

(Alabama Football/Facebook)

So, that’s right: If people can claim that Donald Trump and spiders are legitimate triggers, then I’m claiming Nick Saban as my trigger and that’s why I can’t cheer for Alabama to get to the National Championship (okay, okay I do respect the guy and won’t cry if they win).

Maybe a Saban chewing is a rite of passage? This YouTube video from Josh Snead says it all (I feel ya, Josh):



Rachel Blackmon Bryars is managing editor of

(Are you scared of Coach Saban? What would you ask him at a press conference?)

3 months ago

Rick or Bubba? Who received more write-in votes for Alabama’s senator?

Rick Burgess & Bill “Bubba” Bussey



More than 20,000 write-in votes were cast on Dec. 12 for Alabama’s special Senate election, along with the expected names of Luther Strange and Alabama football coach Nick Saban.

Republicans Martha Roby (Montgomery), Bradley Byrne (Mobile), Mike Rogers (Tuskegee), Robert Aderholt (Gadsden) and Gary Palmer (Vestavia Hills) all received votes to be Alabama’s next senator.

Of the delegation, Roby claimed the most with at least 15 votes.

Birmingham radio hosts Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey both received several votes.

While Bussey earned 5 votes, Burgess was the choice of the duo with 7 votes.

Dianne Bentley, ex-wife of former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, who resigned in April over allegations of finance and ethics violations, beat out her former husband 4 votes to 2.

3 months ago

Nick Saban and Taylor Swift have something in common: They’re both vilified for political silence


We have all watched as people in the sports and entertainment world have taken various positions on hot-button political positions only to be told that they are now terrible at their chosen profession.

In the world of entertainment, Patton Oswalt is told he is a terrible comedian and Alec Baldwin apparently now sucks at acting to a sizable portion of those who are politically active for holding the wrong opinions.

In the sports world, look at Colin Kaepernick… OK, that’s a bad example, he was terrible before he decided he became America’s least effective Social Justice Warrior.

You will notice most politically-active celebrities are liberal in nature; there is no danger in being pro-gay marriage, but let a random reality TV star say they support traditional marriage (or any conservative cause) and they will be targeted for destruction.

But a new thread is now emerging. Not only are we mad when people express opinions we don’t like, we are starting to get mad at celebrities who say nothing. Taylor Swift’s silence on the Trump administration is treated by some as an outright endorsement of its activities and decisions. “Is she a feminist? Is she a racist?” Why are these questions being asked? Because she has said nothing. The sound of her silence is deafening … or something.

And don’t think Alabama escapes this nonsense.

Nick Saban, who probably came in third in the Alabama Senate race, is being targeted as a “clueless, gutless, selfish coward” for daring to not say anything about the Senate. But, again, let’s be honest, the real problem is that he didn’t help obliterate Roy Moore.

The lead-up to Roy Moore and Doug Jones’ election Tuesday should have been Saban’s shining career moment to show true leadership and humanity. By remaining silent on the numerous allegations that Moore was a pedophile, Saban showed he does not care about the plight or protection of young women and girls.”

The piece also said he didn’t care about black people, all because he is preparing for a College Football Playoff game against Clemson and not lecturing his fans about politics.

The people who write these articles scolding Saban and others for not using their powerful positions as a weapon, would be demanding he be fired if he dared stated he didn’t believe the women or that he was voting for Roy Moore. They would declare that it was not his place to try to influence his football players or fans of the Crimson Tide. They would write screeds about how Saban was using taxpayer-dollars to promote his political views; they might even call for him to be charged with a crime.

They are phonies.

This stuff only cuts one way. They want their liberal views expressed and highlighted, and all other views silenced, as they are on ESPN. This isn’t about wanting people to be more politically-involved, this is about continuing to bully people into thinking the “right way” and punishing people for thinking “incorrectly”.

Saban isn’t an idiot. He knows this game and he wants no part of it.

I don’t really make political comments. So, if I say I like one person that means everybody who voted for the other person doesn’t like me. So, why would I do that?”

Nick Saban and Taylor Swift have every right to voice their opinion, but they are under no obligation to amplify your viewpoints.

Dale Jackson hosts a daily radio show on NewsTalk 770 AM/92.5 FM WVNN and a weekly television show, “Guerrilla Politics,” on WAAY-TV, both in North Alabama. Follow him @TheDaleJackson.

4 months ago

Nick Saban and Gus Malzahn may not like the GOP tax plan (but you might)

With a most unconventional president in the White House, the current tax plan being considered in Washington is appropriately unconventional as well.

For Alabama, the plan is a mixed bag that is likely to please some but satisfy few.

College football – the sport that is synonymous with Alabama to most of the country – is strangely in the crosshairs with this tax plan.

A proposal in the plan would eliminate a deduction of 80 percent to college athletic departments for the option to purchase game tickets and obtain preferred parking, among other services. If enacted, the provision could fundamentally alter the economics of big-time college athletics.

“Some of these provisions are certainly problematic for robust athletic programs,” said Clay Ryan, the vice chancellor for governmental affairs at the University of Alabama System.

Booster programs like Tide Pride and Blazer Boosters support many non-revenue generating sports, Ryan explained. If the government alters the way they receive tax-deductible contributions, then these sports could see less financial support in the future.

Moreover, many are Title IX programs that have provided opportunity to thousands of female athletes.

The president of the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities, which includes Auburn University, also expressed his concern about the overall bill in a letter to Congressional leadership.

Another provision could directly affect the salaries of highly paid college coaches.

It would assess a 20 percent excise tax on nonprofit organizations, to be applied on salaries of those making $1 million or more.

In other words, it could cost universities millions more to compensate coaches like Nick Saban and Gus Malzahn.

Rather than causing these coaches to give up vacation homes, however, at worst the plan would likely cause the universities to employ more creative methods to pay for coaches of their revenue-generating sports.

For the rest of us making less than seven or eight figures annually, the plan should be somewhat kinder.

Low to middle-income married couples with children would see their standard deduction almost doubled to $24,400. While that sounds great, the proposal would also take away the dependent exemption, which is currently at $4,050 for each dependent.

The best selling point of the plan – according to its advocates, anyway – is a significantly lower corporate tax rate.

In a state like Alabama that has already been on an economic upswing, the lower rate could mean further corporate investment in the state and the jobs that would come with it.

Then again, all of the above is subject to negotiation in the horse-trading that is common on Capitol Hill.

5 months ago

Shooting victim Scalise to be Saban’s guest at tonight’s Bama-LSU game

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and family at Tiger Stadium in September. (@stevescalise/Instagram)


It’s not often that the University of Alabama honors a rabid fan of the opposing team, especially when that fan wears purple and gold.

But the Crimson Tide are making an exception tonight for U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), whose recovery from a nearly fatal gunshot inspired his colleagues and much of the country. Scalise is an honored guest at tonight’s Alabama game against his beloved Louisiana State University Tigers. He is watching the game with Alabama’s congressional delegation.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban — who has won national championships at both schools — extended the invitation, said Clay Ryan, the vice chancellor for governmental affairs at the University of Alabama System.

“We hoped the invitation would demonstrate the mutual respect between our universities and recognize the importance of this rivalry,” Ryan said. “Coach Saban has regularly acknowledged the fond memories he and Miss Terry have of their time in Baton Rouge. This is a special game.”

Scalise drew widespread sympathy when a gunman targeting Republicans shot him and four others at a practice of the GOP’s congressional baseball team on June 14. A bullet from James Thomas Hodgkinson’s rifle traveled across his pelvis and fractured bones. He underwent multiple surgeries.

Scalise provoked a rare bout of bipartisanship on Sept. 28 when he returned to the House of Representatives for the first time.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) said fellow Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) took the lead in helping to organize the event. He said Scalise is well-liked among his colleagues but that the hosts’ hospitality will only go so far.

“After we get through recognizing him for what he’s been through, I hope, as an Alabama graduate, we whip LSU’s tail,” he said.

And don’t count on sympathy for Scalise to extend to his favorite team among the Bryant-Denny Stadium faithful.

“We’ve had to be strategic about where we placed him in the stadium so as not to set off an uproar,” Ryan quipped.


5 months ago

We’ll ruffle feathers here – and kick some a-, uh, Mules


Alabama’s governing systems are a collective mess.

Many of my columns here at Yellowhammer will detail that mess – or those messes – and unflinchingly will advocate reforms, no matter whose toes get stomped or whose power bases get challenged.

I write as a lifelong, committed Madisonian conservative. Put the stress on “Madisonian,” which means I promote a philosophy, not an ideology. (For the difference, please read Eric Hoffer, Richard Weaver, and C.S. Lewis, among others, and also please review the actual practices of Ronald Reagan.) This means that while principles endure, mere opinions must be based in facts – and those opinions ought to be modifiable, at least at the edges, by empirical evidence.

As I wrote in an essay for a college publication more than 30 years ago, “such a conservatism is open both to question and to questing, to discussion without repercussion, not because it feels it is wrong but because it always strives to be more right.”

Within those parameters, though, opinions can still be both strong and strongly expressed. After nearly two decades of covering Alabama stories, I enter this new forum with the following opinions that, while open to further review, are currently quite strong.

First, Alabama’s state Constitution may be the worst such document in American history. Convoluted, complicated, counterproductive, and absurdly long, it desperately needs major revision and simplification. Indeed, if it were practical, Alabamans should trash the whole thing and start over, but as a practical man I accept that is an unlikely undertaking.

Second, Alabama’s government is far too centralized rather than open to local innovations, which makes it both ossified and much more easily corruptible. It also allows a small number of groups – often known as the “Big Mules” – to wield inordinate power. Now, sometimes they happen to wield it for good purposes. But if they don’t, they should be taken down a peg or two hundred.

Third, even hard-line conservatives should recognize that many solemn obligations of state government are seriously underfunded here. Among them are prisons/jails, the mental health system, some sheriffs and law enforcement agencies, and (due to federal mandates) Medicaid. One way or another, whether via savings elsewhere or new revenue sources, those functions should be fully supported. (Any conservative who is allergic to the very word “tax,” by the way, isn’t a real conservative.)

Fourth, while Alabama state government is comparatively lean, the first (but not only) focus for those wanting to meet the solemn obligations above should indeed be savings elsewhere, not new taxes. As a former staffer on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee when in just two years it was saving what was then a huge $50 billion in domestic discretionary spending (actual dollars, not merely from some projected “rate of increase”), I have no patience with government waste.

Fifth, to better apply savings from some areas to needs in other areas, state government absolutely must be allowed to modify its system of constitutionally earmarking an absurdly high percentage of its revenues. The entire idea of representative government is that the general public must entrust at least some significant discretion – must indeed delegate real authority – to those it elects to office.

Sixth, Alabama’s tax system is badly unbalanced and horribly regressive. Both state government and local governments rely far too heavily on sales taxes, and a bit too lightly on property taxes. Alabama could cut the former a bit and hike the latter just a smidgen and still be near the very bottom of states in property-tax burden while still among the highest in sales-tax burden. That last sentence isn’t mere opinion; it’s empirical fact.

Seventh, Alabama’s educational system vastly under-performs; its central bureaucracy is badly bloated; and its state school board and community of administrators are horribly incestuous (figuratively speaking). Indeed, the current state board is an embarrassment. Meanwhile, the state’s adoption of Common Core, and abandonment of full funding for the Alabama Math Initiative and Alabama Reading Initiative, reversed real progress in educational attainments, so that Alabama is again one of the worst performing states in the union.

Eighth, the truth(s) of race relations and racism in Alabama is/are far more complicated than almost anybody admits. Bigotry here is far less prevalent than most of the rest of the country believes, but still definitely more prevalent than most Alabamans readily acknowledge. (It also befouls us, at least somewhat, from more than one direction or ethnic subgroup.) Meanwhile, race relations also are more nuanced than either the national critics or the state deniers would concede.

Ninth, on the plus side, and amidst a general paucity of truly excellent elected officials, Alabama also has boasted (in just the 20 years I’ve been here) a few of the finest public servants I’ve come across in my entire life. (I was born into a very political family, 53 years ago.) I won’t name those still active in politics today, because I’ll be covering them and there’s always the chance they’ll screw up. But as I write these columns I’ll surely be dropping the names of those who are retired or passed away – the late state Sen. Hap Myers of Mobile comes to mind – because, even though Alabama’s government needs improvement, that doesn’t negate the many things and people of which it should be proud. And as with some public figures, so with its culture: For all my current criticisms, Alabama is a magnificent state with wonderful people, and I intend to trumpet our great strengths to a national audience.

Tenth and finally, and even writing as a huge, lifelong fan of football, I must insist that Alabamans in general are far too obsessed with football, to the absolute detriment of education and the broader culture. (And Nick Saban is overpaid)….

Okay, now I’ll show myself through the door, before I’m tarred, feathered, blitzed, and body-slammed. But please do watch this space. There’s lot of ground to cover.

Yellowhammer Contributing Editor Quin Hillyer, of Mobile, also is a Contributing Editor for National Review Online, and is the author of Mad Jones, Heretic, a satirical literary novel published in the fall of 2017, available via Amazon.

5 months ago

Alabama Football’s Twitter Account Makes Spooky Change

If you follow Alabama Football’s Twitter feed then you might have noticed a slight change in their cover photo. It’s not a red elephant or a Heisman Trophy-winning running back – its Pennywise the Clown from Steven Kings mega-hit “It”.

Besides changing the photo, the Twitter account gives no explanation of what the image is supposed to mean. Is it just a funny joke for Halloween, or does it have something to do with the upcoming game against LSU? A recent interview of LSU players revealed that the Bengal Tigers don’t fear the Tide (at least publicly). When asked about facing Alabama, players from the LSU locker room said: “we’re bigger, stronger, and it’s time to beat them up.”

Maybe Alabama is sending a message to LSU or maybe it’s just in the spirit of Halloween. It would be interesting to see if there’s a reporter out there that brave enough to ask Saban.

5 months ago

Alabama’s Da’Shawn Hand To Return During Bye Week

Screenshot from Youtube

After suffering a knee injury against Ole Miss during week five of the season, Da’Shawn Hand is expected to return to practice this week.

As reported by 247 Sports, Alabama coach Nick Saban gave an update on the defensive end after Alabama’s dominating performance against Tennessee. “Da’Shawn will be working out all week. We do expect him to be able to practice. We’ll see how it goes to see if he’s ready to play in the next game.”

Hand is one of Alabama’s leading defensive players. While his absence has been felt on the defensive line, the Tide have continued to dominate opponents by relying on their talented second and third string players.

LSU is set to visit Bryant-Denny Nov. 4. After a devastating defeat to Troy University earlier this season, the Bayou Bengals have turned their season around. The annual match-up is set to be a competitive game, so Alabama is banking on Hand’s return.

5 months ago

College Football Preview: Alabama vs. Tennessee

Can you believe it’s already the third week in October? Time flies when you’re having fun (at least for ‘Bama fans). We’ve seen some great college football the past seven weeks. There have been some quality opponents and compelling storylines. If you regard Saturday as your Sabbath, then you’ve not been disappointed. However, none of the games or headlines until this point can rival the third week in October. All Alabama and Tennessee fans mark their calendars for this marquee matchup. Heck, some even plan their wedding around it.

This Saturday at 2:15, Alabama and Tennessee will face off in Bryant-Denny for their 100th match-up. Alabama leads the series 53-38-7, and with so much riding on the line for both teams, football fans might be treated to a good one. Alabama is 7-0 and looking for the 17th National Championship. Tennessee’s head coach, Butch Jones, is fighting for his job.

With so much on the line, will Alabama continue to roll, or will the Vol’s be able to turn their season around? Here are our weekly keys to success, we will let you decide.

Tennessee Defense: As the old saying goes, “defense wins championships.” Tennessee ain’t winning any championships this year, but the principle still holds true here. If you want to win games, then don’t let your opponent score more than you. What’s the best way to do that? Stop them with your defense.

Tennessee is operating with a freshman QB that will be making his second start of the season. If that were not bad enough, he’s starting his second game in Bryant-Denny. That’s a challenging place to play for the most seasoned of QBs.

Most Tennessee fans will agree that they are not expecting the Vol’s to put up massive points. While they can score, their best strategy will be to keep Alabama out of the end zone and make the most of the points they do get. If the Vol’s defense can slow Jalen Hurts and Co., then they “might” have a shot at pulling off an upset. If they allow Alabama to run downhill, then their fate is all but sealed. So, the key factor is for Tennessee to stop the Tide from scoring, and hope you can sneak in enough points to beat them.

Alabama Offense: Alabama shouldn’t have a tough time stopping the Vol’s offense. It’s underpowered and outgunned. What they don’t want to do is get into a slugfest with Tennessee’s defense. This will give the Vol’s some life, potentially allowing them to play at a higher level than we’ve seen. If you’re Nick Saban, you want to jump on Tennessee fast and strong. If Alabama can run the score up early, it will be nearly impossible for Tennessee to mount a comeback.

Alabama vs. Tennessee

Alabama – 49

Tennessee – 10

5 months ago

All He Wanted Was a Chance: The Empowering Influence of Coaches Like Alabama’s Gene Stallings

When Dabo Swinney was in Alabama for the Rane Foundation Charity Banquet last May, a small group of journalists gathered in a room to interview Mr. Rane and the Clemson coach. While Swinney was clear on his tremendous respect for Nick Saban and spoke about the good-natured jousting the two enjoy, it didn’t take long for someone to ask him about Gene Stallings, the man Swinney simply calls “Coach.”

“It’s great to be around Coach,” Swinney said talking about their time together at the Banquet…”And I always feel like I’m 20 again when I’m with him. It’s ‘Yes Sir and No Sir,’ ” Swinney quipped, as Jimmy Rane added with a chuckle, “We all say ‘Sir’ to Coach Stallings!”

When asked what his May trip to Alabama meant to him, Swinney continued:

“I try to always remember where I came from and I’m not any different now than I was years ago as a G.A. (graduate assistant) working for Coach back then. It’s just the light’s a little brighter now, but I don’t do it any different. I think the key to coaching is to love my players. I’m relationship driven and it’s hard to have a relationship with someone unless you know them and care about them. The whole philosophy of our team is to love, serve, and care for our players. If we do that, we will empower young men to go out in life and do the same thing. They’ll love others, serve their families, and their communities, and I think that’s been the key for our success at Clemson. If there’s a secret sauce, that’s it. Nobody’s perfect, but we truly try to love our guys. That’s the culture we’ve built at Clemson and I think it’s the key to most anything, just love your neighbor.”

Clearly, Dabo Swinney didn’t just decide to approach coaching that way out of the blue. Gene Stallings played no small part in imparting this vision to Swinney, not only with words but with deeds.

William Christopher Swinney showed up at Alabama with a huge hole in his heart from his father’s struggles of losing a business and (during those years) succumbing to the bottle. But Dabo Swinney possessed a passion that equaled his pain. What he lacked in physical prowess, he more than made up for with an indomitable spirit. Though no one had asked him to come, Gene Stallings embraced the walk-on from Pelham, Alabama and treated him like a son.

Just as Swinney strives to do with his own players today, Stallings loved Swinney, invested in him, cared about him beyond his performance on the field, and played a big part in empowering him to be the man he is today. As Swinney put it: “It’s simple; I’m not sitting right here right now if it weren’t for people like Coach caring about me.”

Following Clemson’s surprising loss to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome last Friday night, Swinney spoke to’s, David Hood about his decision to come to Tuscaloosa Saturday to take part in celebrating the Tide’s 1992 National Championship team, which he played on under Stallings. “The last thing I wanted to do is get on a plane Saturday morning and go anywhere, but I’m glad I did. It was a very special day. My senior year in 1992…I have such great relationships with so many of my teammates to this day, 25 years later.”

Continuing to reflect on his trip to Alabama Saturday, Swinney said:

“First of all, it was just great perspective for me. It was just what the doctor ordered. Just seeing my teammates and spending time with them. They did a great job of how they organized it…With the way God worked it out, we had a game on Friday night. For me to have a Saturday is a rare thing. It’s probably the last time we’ll be together with Coach (Stallings). Coach just had a heart attack last week. When he said he was going, I really didn’t have any excuse…They were so helpful. They took us straight from the airport over to the stadium. We had about an hour and a half with just the team in the big letterman room with nobody in there. It was just the team—us and Coach. It was really a special time. I saw guys I hadn’t seen since 1992. We’ve had a couple of reunions but not even close to the turnout. It was pretty much just about everybody. It was a special time. Everybody was just so complimentary of Clemson and what we’ve been able to do here.”

Turning his focus back to Coach Stallings, Swinney added:

“It was great just being able to be with Coach and have that special time. He was fussing at me. He was still being Coach and he said he didn’t sleep all night. He said he got up at 3 a.m. eating grapes and still mad about the game (Clemson’s loss Friday night). He was walking with a cane. It was tough to see him like that, but it meant that much to him to get there. I was really thankful that I was able to go and be a part of that. They did all of the stuff in the pregame and then once they cleared the field they announced the team, it was great to be a part of that moment.”

Dabo Swinney’s trip to Alabama on Saturday is a great reminder that regardless of the color of one’s skin or jersey; and no matter what games one may win or lose; the lifelong bonds that often come from sports can be lasting and powerful. This is all the more true when a coach decides to truly invest in a kid—especially in a kid nobody recruited—a kid that’s asking for nothing more than a chance.

Most folks would write that kid off, or at best just ignore him. But most folks aren’t Gene Stallings. Today, untold numbers of young men (and their families) benefit from the fact that Coach was wise enough to know that life is far bigger than football and that every person matters and deserves to be treated with love and respect. Because Coach knew that only God knows who those kids may one day become.

As Swinney told Yellowhammer last May, “Being home reminds me that I was a kid who didn’t have much of a chance that God gave a chance.” And there’s little doubt that God chose Gene Stallings to give Dabo Swinney that chance.

5 months ago

College Football Preview: Alabama vs. Arkansas

Set for a 6:15 kickoff, Bret Bielema’s Razorbacks are traveling to Tuscaloosa to take on the #1 Crimson Tide. While the matchup has become a midseason right of passage, it’s hardly an even contest. Over the past ten seasons, Alabama has gone undefeated against Arkansas. Some games haven’t been pretty, like the 2014 game where the Tide narrowly escaped with a win, but it’s no secret Alabama owns this annual matchup.

Most consider it a foregone conclusion that Nick Saban will out game Bielema on Saturday. Should they be that comfortable, or is there more to this game then meets the eye?

So, without further ado, here are our weekly keys to success.

Razorback Physicality and Talent: It’s hard to deny that, under Bielema, Arkansas brings tenacity to any game they play. If you think they are just going to lay down for Alabama, then you need to think again. There probably aren’t many better examples of a team that encompasses SEC football. When you tune into Saturday’s game, you’re going to see smash mouth football at it’s best. The Razorbacks are going to make Alabama fight for every yard, just like they have in previous years. So, don’t expect to see a crazy high score like you did against Ole Miss.

That said, physicality and determination can only take a team so far and that’s the problem with Arkansas. While they play with a lot of grit, they just don’t have the talent to compete with the Tide. Case in point: the loss they suffered last week to a mediocre South Carolina team. By all accounts, Arkansas should have asserted their will, but they didn’t. Why? They fundamentally lack the talent and depth necessary to win consistently.

The Alabama Strategy: There is a very compelling argument for Nick Saban being the best coach of all time. His football aptitude and attention to detail effectively make him the 12th man.

The biggest advantage Alabama has this week, other than a roster packed with NFL talent, is Nick Saban. We know Arkansas doesn’t have the talent to compete with Alabama and so does Saban. He’s known for breaking down a team and hitting them where they are most vulnerable, and that is what you’ll see again in this game. Nick has had 10 seasons worth of strategy against Arkansas, and he knows right where to hit them.

The biggest factor on the Alabama side will defiantly be the game plan. Arkansas will put up a valiant fight, but you’ve got to bring more to the table when you take on the Tide. Saban knows there is no point in slamming against a wall; he will meticulously pick through the Razorbacks weaknesses until they lose their will to fight.

Alabama vs. Arkansas Prediction

Alabama – 33

Arkansas – 7

5 months ago

See Whats Got Coach Saban Fired Up This Week

Following their somewhat narrow victory over Texas A&M this weekend, coach Nick Saban made it abundantly clear that it takes a lot more than just winning football games to make him satisfied.

Not to take anything away from A&M, but it was apparent Alabama didn’t come with the same type of focus we’ve seen the last two weeks. They looked sluggish at times, and Robert Foster committed the Tide’s first turnover in 38 quarters of play.

After the game, Saban had a pretty good idea of what caused his team to miss a step this week.

See the video below to see what Coach Saban had to say:

6 months ago

A Special Day, For a Special Girl At Alabama Football Game

Photo courtesy of Aubreigh’s Army Facebook page

If you’re from the south, then you know how serious we are about college football. “House divided” tags are commonplace across Alabama, and a bitter rivalry can call into question the strongest of friendships. But every now and then there are circumstances that surpass the games we play and remind us what’s really important. That’s what happened this weekend when Alabama head coach Nick Saban went out of his way to make a little girl’s dream come true.

Aubreigh Nicholas, 10, is like a lot of girls her age. She’s full of life, and an avid Tide fan. By all accounts she’s your typical Alabama girl, except for one major difference – she suffers from a rare and inoperable brain cancer known as DIPG.

Saturday, before kick-off, she visited Bryant-Denny, and the university made sure it was a day she would never forget.

Given V.I.P. access, Aubreigh and her family spent time with players, cheerleaders, and even Big Al. However, Aubreigh’s day was just getting started. As she approached the North end zone, there stood Coach Saban, waiting to make this little girl’s day as special as she is.

In pictures posted on Aubreigh’s Army Facebook page, Saban can be seen hugging and kissing the little girl on the head.

After the meeting, the Aubreigh’s Army Facebook page posted, “. . . Can’t say enough about the Army, the Bama Nation, and the University of Alabama for making a reality out of what was a week ago a long shot dream. Aubreigh like so many of our little curls has a die-hard allegiance to SEC football. What the Tide and the University did today, beyond words. . .”

The games we play matter, but people matter more. Keep up the fight Aubreigh, we’re for you!

7 months ago

Alabama Football Coach Suffers Devastating Loss

Photo Courtesy of Bama Fever

As reported by Yahoo Sports, the son of Alabama co-offensive coordinator, Mike Locksley, was shot and killed in Baltimore over the weekend.

The circumstances surrounding the shooting are still unclear, but Baltimore police reported that the 25-year-old, Meiko Locksley, was found on a sidewalk bleeding from a gunshot wound. He was then transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced deceased. According to ABC 2 in Baltimore, the younger Locksley’s neighbor heard what she believed to a firecracker at the time of the shooting, but looked outside and saw Lockley lying on the sidewalk.

Commenting on the tragic situation, Nick Saban said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mike, Ms. Kia [his wife], and the entire Locksley family over this tragedy. We’ll do everything we can to support Mike and his family in this time of tragedy.”

Mike Locksley is from Maryland and has since returned to be with his family. Before taking his current position with the Alabama football staff, Locksley was Maryland’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for three seasons. He also served as the interim head coach there in 2015 after the departure of head coach, Randy Edsall.

No arrests have been made in connection to the shooting.

7 months ago

Alabama v. Clemson: Has it turned into Warriors v. Cavs rivalry?

Alabama has faced Clemson in the last two title games. The NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers have faced the Golden State Warriors in the last two title games. Alabama won the first and lost the other. The Cavs won the first and lost the other. In light these similarities, ESPN raised an interesting question: Are Alabama and Clemson destined to become a rivalry equal to the one dominating the NBA?

  1. Alabama and Clemson are both entering the season highly touted. Both ranked within the top ten. While the ranking system in the NBA is different from college football, the Cavs and Warriors are both the top picks to win their conferences.
  2. Alabama and Clemson both lost key players. Alabama lost defensive star, Jonathan Allen. Clemson lost superstar QB, Deshaun Watson. The Cavs still have James, and the Warriors still have Curry and KD.
  3. Both teams have a culture of success. Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney push their teams forward. The Cavs and the Warriors have a similar situation.
  4. Alabama is angry over their loss in last January’s championship. LeBron James is out for blood after he was nearly swept by the Warriors.

So, is there a connection? It certainly seems like there could be. Thankfully, we’ll know soon enough. College football is here, once again!

7 months ago

Lane Kiffin: Clemson Never Wins if I’m Still Calling Plays

Lane Kiffin told the Washington Post that if he’d been offensive coordinator during the National Championship game last year, the Tide would have won the game.

In an interview with the Post, Kiffin said,

“It’s no disrespect to Steve. No matter who it was, you’ve been there all year long. You’ve been there for the quarterback. You’re all he knew. You were undefeated together. We’ve won (26) straight games together. You feel like, OK, it’s different. . . As great as Sark is, it’s just different. Again, if it had been 14 points either way … when it’s one play here or there, you think if those guys had the person they were used to, it would have made a difference.”

Kiffin spent three seasons at Alabama, helping the Tide secure one National Championship. He was offered the head coaching job at FAU in the final games of the 2016 season at Alabama. Originally, we had planned to coach along Saban during the championship but instead left for Florida.

Touching on what it was like to watch his team play the biggest game of their season he said, “It got really rough when you watched the game,” He said. “At first, the idea of, ‘OK, do your job. Focus on this one.’ But really, when you watched it, and because they lost, and it was so close…”

Alabama enters this season looking to gain their first win over Florida State Saturday. They are currently ranked number one.

7 months ago

College Football Preview: Alabama vs. Florida State

College football is finally upon us, and ‘Bama fans across the South are getting ready for a marquee match up. This Saturday, in the first college football game at the new Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta, the Alabama Crimson Tide will take on the Florida State Seminoles.

If you’re a Crimson Tide fan, then you know how big this game is, especially as a season opener. Since Nick Saban took command of the Tide in 2007, Alabama has played several box office openers. However, with the way Alabama ended its season last year, some are calling this the biggest season-opener of all time.

No doubt one of the key positions to watch will be the quarterback. With it being the first game of the season, you can bet that there are going to kinks to iron out on both sidelines, but will either team’s quarterback be able to maintain the poise needed when adversity strikes?

Jalen Hurts had a very strong season last year, barely missing another Championship with his impressive touchdown run with only a couple of minutes left in the game. We know he’s a tough competitor, but it seems the biggest question still centers around his passing ability. In his freshman season, he was able to create big plays with his legs, but he often missed the big passes Bama’ uses to open up the run. A critical factor behind the successful running attack Alabama is known for is the play action pass. It will be interesting to see if Hurt’s has improved his accuracy enough to keep the highly-touted Seminole defense on their toes.

Florida State is bringing the 2016 ACC Rookie of the Year, QB Deondre Francois to the field. There is no doubt that Francois is a dangerous man with the football. With his diverse skill set, Bama’ could get hurt if they don’t put pressure on the dual threat QB all day. Alabama lost numerous starters from last year’s team to the NFL but still look for Alabama to exploit Florida State’s biggest weakness last season: their struggling offensive line. Any success created by Florida State will start with allowing their QB room to breathe as he seeks to get the ball in the hands of their super-talented skill players.

Saturday is also another ACC vs. SEC game, but with Jimbo Fisher calling plays from the sideline, I’d expect this to look more like your traditional SEC smash-mouth show down. With so much on the line for both teams, the story Saturday will likely be one of two exceptional defenses looking to exploit two talented, but young quarterbacks. However that turns out, it will be a game for the ages.

Alabama vs. Florida State Prediction

Alabama – 17

Florida State – 10

7 months ago

Crimson Tide Named Preseason #1

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban (Photo: YouTube)

It’s that time of year again, and as we eagerly await the start of the 2017 college football season, Alabama fans have a reason to smile a little brighter.

For the second straight year in a row, and the fourth time under Nick Saban, Alabama is number one in the AP preseason poll.

The poll was released Monday, with Alabama receiving 85% of the votes cast.

Of course, this comes as welcome news to the Tide. However, you can be sure that Coach Saban has already reminded his team that they were in a similar position last year, only to lose in the National Championship to Clemson; A game that would be decided at the final seconds of the fourth quarter.

Coming in just behind Alabama in this poll is the Ohio State Buckeyes, who are led by Urban Myer. They’ve had a strong team since Myer took over the program, and it looks like they will continue to compete at a high level this year.

Most notable in the AP Florida State’s number three position. Alabama and Florida State will face off in their opening season game in the new Georgia Dome. Whether or not the ranking was a ploy by the AP to boost ratings has yet to be seen, but it will definitely make for an interesting game.

Here is the complete Top 25 ranking:

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio State
  3. Florida State
  4. USC
  5. Clemson
  6. Penn State
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Washington
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Oklahoma State
  11. Michigan
  12. Auburn
  13. LSU
  14. Stanford
  15. Georgia
  16. Louisville
  17. Florida
  18. Miami
  19. South Florida
  20. Kansas State
  21. Virginia Teck
  22. West Virginia
  23. Texas
  24. Washington State
  25. Tennessee
7 months ago

Auburn Legend Lends A Hand To Alabama Football

Always looking for a competitive edge, Nick Saban leaves no stone unturned when finding ways to help his team succeed. This year, he brought Auburn basketball star Charles Barkley in to do just that.

As reported by Saturday Down South, Barkley visited Alabama’s Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility Tuesday to give an inspirational speech to the Crimson Tide.

Beloved by Auburn fans, Charles is an Alabama native. Born in Mobile, he made his presence on the court known from an early age. In 1981 he accepted a scholarship at Auburn and quickly made a name for himself. He was SEC Player of the Year in 1984, and he still holds the Auburn record for career field goal percentage with 62.6%.

From 1984-2000 he was an NBA star, being named league MVP once and making 11 NBA All-Star appearances.

If you know anything about the rivalry that exists between Auburn and Alabama, then it might come as a shock that Barkley would do anything to help the Tide, no matter how small. And normally that might be true, except for the relationship he has built with coach Saban.

Outspoken about the struggles young African American men face, Charles has used his fame to help make an impact throughout the state.

In a conversation he had with Saban last year, Barkley said,

“As a black man, I really respect when you give other black men an opportunity after they’ve screwed up. Because I always tell people, ‘Everybody is an idiot when they’re 18. Young Kids are going to make mistakes.’ But as a black man, I just want to say thank you for giving these young black guys an opportunity. I know you have taken some heat, and I thought it was unfair because we don’t need to just throw kids away when they do something stupid.”

While the transcript of the Barkley’s speech has not been released, you can bet that it centered around hard work and overcoming adversity.

For most, it’s either Alabama or Auburn, and those two things don’t mix in Bama’. But, even if for a short time, it’s great to see Alabama leaders crossing into enemy territory to help young men grow. Because at the end of the day, lives are bigger than the games we play.

8 months ago

Alabama’s Voted King of the Hill While Auburn’s Well-Respected by College Coaches

The first preseason college football poll was released today, and Division One coaches from across the nation have voted Alabama in the #1 spot, once again placing the Tide as the game’s most dominant force in the country.

For all of Alabama’s hard-earned and well-deserved prestige, college coaches from around the nation also made it known that Auburn is expected to be a force to be reckoned with in 2017, ranking the at Tigers 13th.

The Amway Coaches’ Poll is the first preseason ranking, and it reminds us that the glorious gridiron Saturday’s are only four short weeks away. USA Today Sports sponsors the Amway on the poll, explained that it’s a coaches’ poll made up of 65 leading FBC coaches. As USA Today reported, “Each coach submits a Top 25 with a first-place vote worth 25 points, second place 24, and so on down to one point for 25th.”

Alabama’s opening day opponent, Florida State, was voted 3rd in the country while several of Alabama and Auburn’s SEC foes made the elite group, with LSU coming in at 12, Georgia at 15, Florida at 16, and Tennessee at 24.

The 65 voting coaches who voted in the poll dropped reigning national champs Clemson down to number 5, while Ohio State (who lost to Clemson 31-0 in the playoff semifinal last season) is ranked 2nd, and Washington (who lost to ‘Bama 24-7 in the playoff semifinal) was voted into 7th place.

Fall camp started this week for most college football programs, with one major difference that’s a departure from a decades-long tradition—the infamous two-a-day practices are now a thing of the past.

However these teams spend the next month preparing, there’s little doubt that Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide will be more than ready to square off against the Seminoles in exactly 30 days. Likewise, Gus Malzahn’s Tigers will be equally eager to mix it up with their twin-brothers up I-85 at Clemson a week later in their first real test of the 2017 campaign.

Stay tuned. College football is almost here!!

8 months ago

What Nick Saban Taught Me About Parenting

Coaching Championship Children

Parenting is arguably the hardest job on the planet. Imagine working a job with 24-hour shifts, no days off, and after 18 years you might be eligible for partial retirement. That’s parenting. So, for those really tough days on the job, I take a few notes from Nick Saban’s playbook.

Yes, I said Nick Saban. Regardless of whether you cheer “Roll Tide,” “War Eagle,” or anything else, it’s hard to deny that the man knows what he’s doing when it comes to football. And, when you compare the two, parenting is a lot like coaching. As the coach of your children, you are responsible for teaching and training them to meet their full potential. They work and play by the rules you make.

Saban has a winning football program because he puts all of his efforts into achieving that end. That’s not to say that the talented players don’t help win those coveted championships, much like how some children are easier to raise. Still, football players and children both need a fearless leader to guide them. Some need a little more tough love than others, but they all need a role model who cares deeply about them and their future.

While Saban may be tough on his players, they respect him. It’s evident in the players’ press interviews and in their body language on the field that they respect him. At the same time, they don’t look beat down or afraid of him. This tough balance is what we should strive for in parenting our children. Too many parents try to be their son or daughter’s best friend, and others are so strict that it makes them unapproachable. We shouldn’t be their buddy or their dictator, but rather their coach.

Whenever Saban gives a press interview or talks to a sideline reporter, I like to keep count of how many times he says the word “execute.” If someone were to play a drinking game to that word, he or she would be three sheets to the wind by the third quarter. In all seriousness though, he makes a valid point in saying that the team must “execute.”

Sadly, we live in a world where not many people make good on their promises. They have great ideas, yet fail to follow through. Many parents fail to execute as well. It’s easy to say that we want to instill morals in our children and teach them manners. It’s easy to want them to learn new skills and excel in academics. None of this will happen though if we fail to execute our parenting plans.

I understand firsthand just how time-consuming it can be to train children to pick up toys or brush their teeth. It’s much easier to just do it for them, but that isn’t the right long-term solution for either of you. Just like those football players may lag and complain during a hot summer practice, children like to make excuses as well. You can give in to them so that you no longer have to hear the whining, or you can coach them along to help them succeed.

So, next time you’re knee deep in Paw Patrol paraphernalia with a crying toddler, or your teenager is complaining about curfew, channel your inner Saban. Explain to the child that hard work and sacrifice for the immediate future make for a better tomorrow. Prayer, patience, and the determination to execute your parenting plans can go a long way at molding your children into champions.


About the Author: Kaci Lane Hindman can best be described as an unconventional Southern Belle with a sarcastic sense of humor. She loves Alabama, writing, and writing about Alabama. She is married to the walking definition of a high-tech redneck, and together they have two young children.

8 months ago

Nick Saban Hoping To Learn From Last January’s Failure

HOOVER, Ala. — After a 14-1 season, an SEC Championship, and finishing second overall in the country, Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban has one word to describe 2016: failure. Such is the mentality that has made his program one of the most dominant in college football history.

“I hope we won’t waste a failure,” Saban said of the Tide’s heartbreaking loss to Clemson in the National Championship game. “We weren’t able to finish like we needed to, and there were a lot of lessons to learn from that.”

At this year’s edition of SEC Media days, there is certainly no shortage of topics for Saban to discuss. From the rare championship defeat to the new offensive coordinator, reporters were eager to get more information about how the Alabama program is handling the current transition.

Overall, Saban has been pleased with the work put in by his new offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll. Saban hired the former New England Patriots Tigh Ends Coach after Steve Sarkisian abandoned the program after coaching in only one game. Specifically, he has liked the progress he has seen Daboll make with quarterback Jalen Hurts’ passing ability.

The Tide begin their season in Atlanta in a likely top-ten matchup against the Florida State Seminoles. Coming off of a surprising Orange Bowl victory against the Michigan Wolverines, FSU is expected to have a successful year in the ACC.

“Florida State probably has as many good players returning as anyone in college football,” Saban said. “They’re built like an SEC team. They’re fast, but also big and tough and play good defense.”

The anticipation for the Bama-FSU matchup is only growing, and tickets for the game are already sold-out.

Besides Alabama, no team in the SEC has the same coach it did seven years ago, and one reporter asked Saban what it takes to stay at one program so long. The five-time national champion had a one-word answer: “Win.”

Saban was joined at Media Days by three Crimson Tide upper-classmen: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Calvin Ridley, and Bradley Bozeman. All three are expected to have standout performances this year.