Patience is not Bama#039;s best virtue

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2005

My how the times have changed.

Years ago you would have never dreamed of reading reports where the University of Alabama men's basketball coach was making more money than its head football coach.

I'm sure Paul "Bear" Bryant, himself, was rolling in his grave earlier this week when it was announced that Mike Gottfried would be given a $200,000 pay raise to become the highest paid employee within the athletic department. Gottfried now makes $1 million per season.

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On Tuesday, Alabama head football coach Mike Shula was given a one-year extension on his contract with no pay raise. Shula's base salary is $150,000 with a $750,000 talent fee to cover his work for the radio show "Hey, Coach," and the Alabama Football Review.

It did come as a surprise that Shula was given a contract extension.

What wasn't surprising is that he didn't get a pay raise.

After going 10-15 in his last two seasons, Shula didn't deserve a pay raise.

Sure former Alabama standout and Mississippi State head football coach Sylvester Croom was given a pay raise after a 3-8 first year as the Bulldogs' coach, but MSU did beat a quality Florida team midway through the season.

Croom's progress as coach at Mississippi State has shown promise, while Shula remains winless against Top 25 teams.

Alabama has been hit hard by probation and is still reeling from the effects. Alabama also was ravaged by the injury bug last season to finish 6-6, but a .500 season is not acceptable at the Capstone.

This is the University of Alabama and not Northwestern.

This season will be a true litmus test for Shula.

Quarterback Brodie Croyle is healed from another knee injury, and the Tide did have a relatively impressive recruiting class although rival Auburn went unbeaten to win the Southeastern Conference championship.

Some Crimson Tide fans have wondered out loud if Shula is the right man for the job.

Some wanted him fired after his first season after finishing 4-9. Now the natives are certainly restless after another sub-par season.

Patience may be the best virtue, but not at the Capstone.

Kevin Taylor is sports editor of The Greenville Advocate. E-mail him at or call (334) 383-9302 ext. 122.