Hey, Big Fan!

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 19, 2003

Everyone's a big man to Colin MacGuire.

In fact, the first thing out of the 4nfootn7ninch Greenville native's mouth when he greets you is, "Hey, big man!"

MacGuire, 45, who is better known as "Big C", is a former student at the University of Alabama and manager for the Tide's football team. Some have touted him as one of the South's biggest Bama fans.

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"I'd say I'm a pretty big fan," MacGuire said. "I feel like from a historical standpoint I know a lot more history of the program than your average fan. I'm different than your average fan."

MacGuire said he's a "committed fan" of the Crimson Tide. It's rare that he misses a football game, whether he is in attendance, watching it on T.V. or listening to it on the radio.

"I'd say I'm a pretty loyal fan," he said.

For his loyalty to the Tide both as a fan and an alumnus, the University's Butler County Alumni Association will honor him at its annual meeting at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Cambrian Ridge on Aug. 14 at 6:30 p.m. A social hour will precede the event beginning at 5:30 p.m.

"We're a month away and the reaction is overwhelming," Butler County Chapter President Julian Katz said. "Forget the fact that Big C's a big Alabama fan, he's also a good citizen. He's very unselfish. You can say all these good things about Big C and it would be something that we would all be proud of. For most of us, when you see Big C, he personifies the University of Alabama. Everybody in the Alabama community knows him and knows he is the University of Alabama."

Katz said when he informed MacGuire of the association's plan he was humble as always.

"It's pretty nice that they want to honor me," MacGuire said. "Plus, it will be helping the local chapter here raise money and hopefully be able to send some more folks from down here to Alabama. It was nice of them to ask and hopefully we'll have a good crowd out there."

During his days on the sidelines with the Tide, MacGuire worked with legendary head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, who he referred to as "The Man". He also had the opportunity of working with several Bama standouts that later went on to play in the NFL such as Barry Kraus, Marty Lyons, Jeff Rutledge and Tony Nathan. MacGuire is hoping to be reunited with some of the players and his classmates during the banquet.

"I'm looking forward to it because we sent out some invitations to some people that I know from out of town and hopefully they'll be able to come down," MacGuire said. "Hopefully we'll be able to raise enough money for the scholarship fund. It will be fun to see Coach Moore and I can't guarantee it, but you might possibly see some Who's Who of Alabama there."

The Legacy Begins

MacGuire began studying the Tide's rich football history when he was a seventh grader at Fort Dale Academy after receiving four College Football Digest books after football practice one day. The books, which featured Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Georgia Tech, were given to MacGuire's mother Nina by family friend Harry Poole. MacGuire began memorizing the Tide's scores, stats and other historical information and has continued ever since.

After graduating from Fort Dale in 1976, MacGuire took the advice of his father, Buster, and enrolled at Marion Military Institute, where he served as the football manager, and as scorekeeper for the baseball team. Even though he was reluctant attending Marion at first, he doesn't regret it today.

"I'm glad I went now," MacGuire said. "They helped me develop study habits that I didn't have in high school."

After a year at Marion, MacGuire transferred to Alabama in the fall of 1977 to be a manager on the wrestling team. The following spring, he took a job with the football team. He said working with Coach Bryant was an enjoyable experience.

"Everybody had total respect for him," MacGuire said. "He was just one of those types of people that if he asked you to do something, you would do it. If you think about it today, you don't have that many people that can command respect like that, but he did. You always wanted to make sure you did right for him. You didn't want to let him down. I don't know what it was. He just had that knack."

The Tide won backntonback National Championships while MacGuire was on staff. In 1978, Bama defeated Penn State in the Sugar Bowl 14n7 with what's known today as the famous goal line stand. The Tide defended the title on Jan. 1, 1980 by defeating Arkansas 24n9. MacGuire sports a 1979 championship ring on his right hand to this day.

"It was great, it was fun," MacGuire said. "You got to see what went on behind the scenes. You got to see how practices were organized and how they were structured."

MacGuire graduated from Alabama in the spring of 1980 with a bachelor's degree in communications. He later went to work as a broadcaster for WHBB in Selma and authored an Alabama trivia book entitled Crimson Tide: 1,015 Questions and Answers.

For more information on the Big C Event contact Sue Arnold at 382n9061.