The Michigan Daily - SPORTSWednesday - January 8, 1997 - 5B
Always a cowboy at heart, coach
rides final victory into sunset
By Ryan White
Daily Sports Writer
TAMPA, Fla. - If Alabama coach
Gene Stallings had his druthers, he
would have sported a cowboy hat, spurs
and hung out at the OK Corral.
"If I had my time to live, the 1800s
would have been it," said Stallings, who
admitted to being a big fan of westerns.
A fan despite that they all end the same
"The guy shakes the girl's hand and
kisses the horse," Stallings joked.
Stallings has coached professionally
under former Dallas coach Tom Landry,
whom he calls "the greatest pro coach
ever," and collegiately under the leg-
endary Paul "Bear" Bryant, whom he
calls "the greatest college coach ever."
In more than 40 years of coaching, he
has amassed more stories than most
people would amass loose change in
that amount of time, and given the
chance, he would probably tell you all
of them' in his deep, slow, friendly
The Outback Bowl, however, was
Stallings' final game after seven years
at Alabama. He announced his resigna-
and four SEC
however, came in
1992 when he led
Alabama to a
onship. That title
The legendary coach of the
Crimson Tide won 70 games in his
seven years at Alabama. Overall,
Stallings is now 97-61-2 as a cob
lege coach. He spent seven years
at Texas A&M before coaching St.
Louis and Phoenix in the NFL.
change, and that's
sort of my prob-
said four days
before the game.
"I'm kind of in a
He also didn't
want his players
tion after the Crimson Tide beat Auburn
earlier this season.
Defensive coordinator Mike Dubose
will take Stallings' spot next year.
The Crimson Tide's 17-14 win over
Michigan gave Stallings 70 wins over
those seven years. He has also taken
Alabama to six post-season appear-
ances, he's won one SEC championship
hopes all his players gain while at
Alabama - a degree, a championship
ring and a solid work ethic. He means
that. He seems to mean everything he
And he tried the entire week leading
up to the bowl to treat his final game
just like the previous 86 games with the
"If I had wanted it to effect them, I
would have announced I was resigning
Stallings wanted to make it clear,
however, that he isn't retiring.
He said he's not used up or tired out,
and that he would look at any offers he
might get once the bowl was over.
Stallings said he would even consider a
high school job if he thought he would
Until the next job comes up, Stallings
is going to be content with simply
working on his ranch in Paris, Texas.
And in spite of what he said leading
up to the game, Stallings admitted
afterward that it was emotional, but
only once Alabama recovered
Michigan's attempted onside kick.
When the game ended, Stallings was
lifted onto his players' shoulders and
carried across the Houlihan's Stadium
The man who has coached with leg-
ends has long since become one himself.
More appropriately, the fan of west-
erns rode off into his Crimson Tide sun-
set in a stadium nicknamed the Big
made it easier to leave Tuscaloosa.
"I wouldn't be as satisfied (without
the national championship)," Stallings
said. "I wouldn't feel like I had done the
job I was brought on to do."
His biggest regret? He said that
would be Alabama's NCAA probation
while he was there, and that not every
Stallings has three things he said he
trying to do something like "winning
one for the Gipper."
The way Stallings figured it, he did-
n't tell any of the players to come to
Alabama because of him. He told them
to come for an education and to play for
the Crimson Tide. So why should they
win for him?
"I'm not going to say anything differ-
ent one way or another," Stallings said.
Player No. Yds
Butterfield 1 22
Total 1 22
Player No. Yds
Woodson 4 68
Total 4 68
Player Int Yds
Elston 0 0
Hendricks 0 0
Woodson 1 0
Totals 1 0
Aug. 31 ILLINOIS
Sept. 14 Colorado
Sept. 21 BC
Sept. 28 UCLA
. MARK FRIEDMAN/Daily
I Griese found himself In the middle of a
With three others for the 1997 job.
"P C1 (P:.P.P
Parr's pregame switch
the Ohio State game. I had a legiti-
mate injury. There's nothing to make
up for. I haven't lost any confidence.
There's never been a reason to.
"This is going to be a great experi-
ence, because this is going to be the
first bowl game in three I get to play."
Dec. 28 - Carr denied he ever
said Dreisbach would start. He
refused to say who would, saying he
would make the decision based on
"Dreisbach seems to be healthy, but
he's not as sharp as he was early, but
he seems to be better," Carr said.
As for Griese: "He came off the
bench (against Ohio State) and deliv-
ered' for his team," Carr said.
"Whatever happens the rest of his
, he'll be able to remember what
he did for the team."
® Dec. 29 - At Bowl Beach Day,
while eating a hot dog and peering at
reporters through his sunglasses, Carr
said a decision had been made. But
only he knew what it was.
"Do I know? Yes," Carr said. "I'm
going to tell them tomorrow."
* Jan. 1 - Griese started.
isbach stood on the sidelines.
Griese finished 21-for-37 for 287
yards and a touchdown, an admirable
performance considering it was his
first start of the season.
But he was remembered more for
his lone interception, which was
In tribute to their coach, Crimson Tide pi
Continued from Page 18
to a Michigan blunder than to
Alabama execution. It was made
possible by Paul Peristeris' minus-
two-yard punt on Michigan's first
possession. Now think about that for
Minus two yards.
But it really shouldn't be that sur-
prising. His season average was 37.6
yards per punt, hardly a stellar num-
ber for any punter. Peristeris' poor
punting was also a reason Michigan
lost to Texas A&M in the Alamo
Bowl last season.
You would think that a school with
Michigan's football tradition could
find a better punter.
You would think so.
But Peristeris' poor punt against
Alabama certainly wasn't the main
reason for Michigan's demise. For a
more important point in the game,
we must fast-forward to the begin-
ning of the fourth quarter when the
Wolverines were leading, 6-3, and
were faced with a third-and-five on
the Alabama 10-yard line.
A touchdown here would have
made it especially tough on the Tide,
considering its offense had been as
effective as a lawnmower in sopping
wet grass to this point.
But as Michigan quarterback
Brian Griese tried to pass, he was hit
by Alabama free safety Kelvin
rimear n the hall flnteto i line-
layers carried Gene Stallings off of the field after his final game at Alabama - a 17-14 New Year's Day victory over Michigan.
Oct. 5 Northwestern L 16-17
Oct. 19 INDIANA W 27-20
Oct. 26 Minnesota W 44-14
Nov. 2 Mich. State W 45-29
Nov. 9 Purdue L 3-9
Nov. 16 PENN STATE L 17-29
Nov. 23 Ohio State W 13-9
Jan. 1 Alabama^ L 14-17
^ Outback Bowl, Houlihan's Stadium,
HOME GAMES IN CAPS
At a glance
For Michigan, Charles Woodson did
just about everything. The sopho-
more made three tackles, intercept-
ed one pass, caught four passes,
completed one pass and returned
four punts. Running back Clarence
Williams also played well. He finished
the game with 58 yards rushing and
113 yards receiving.
for Alabama, linebacker Dwayne
Rudd turned the game around for the
Crimson Tide with an Outback Bowl
record 88-yard interception return.
Running back Shaun Alexander ran
for 99 yards including a game clinch-
ing 46-yard touchdown run.
With Michigan up 6-3 in the fourth
quarter and driving, the Wolverines
faced a third-and-five at the Alabama
10-yard line. Michigan quarterback
Brian Griese was hit as he released
the ball and it was intercepted by
Rudd. Rudd turned to his right and
ran up the field 88 yards for a touch-
down. The Crimson Tide did not trail
for the rest of the game.
Lloyd Carr was left looking to the heavens for answers after suffering his second four-loss season in two years of coaching.
made a bad play."
It's what we've come to expect.
In actuality, the play would have
been comical if it weren't so pathetic.
Rudd had so much open field in
front of him after intercepting the
pass that the officials simply should
have blown the play dead and given
him the tochdown.
23, leading 10-6, with 4:24 left in the
Michigan's defense had stuffed
Alabama to this point, so there was
no reason to believe the Wolverines
wouldn't get the ball back with
ample time to score.
They got the ball back all right,
after surrenderino a nuick touch-
and Penn State?
When the Wolverines needed an
important stop, they didn't get it.
The same was true against
The defense shut down the Tide
for 3 1/2 quarters, but when the
game really mattered, it might as
well have been on the heach.
Michigan had one of the nation's
most difficult schedules this sea-
son, but in 1997, its slate just
gets tougher. Gone are Illinois and
Purdue. Back are Iowa and
Wisconsin, both bowl teams. Oh,
ve Notre Dame. which went &3