Bama#039;s biggest fan turns 50

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Greenville's Colin MacGuire celebrates his 50th birthday with a blowout bash

by Michael Rodgers

&uot;Hey, big man!&uot;

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With those words and that inimitable laugh, is there ever any doubt when Colin &uot;Big C&uot; MacGuire is around?

For many years, MacGuire has been an important figure in sports for Greenville and the state of Alabama, and he has witnessed many milestones.

Last Saturday, MacGuire reached a milestone of his own - he turned 50 years old.

&uot;I suppose it’s better than the alternative,&uot; MacGuire said with a laugh.

Because of the way the dates fell, MacGuire was actually able to celebrate on his birthday with a party at Ward and Ashley Thigpen’s house.

&uot;It was actually my dad and my brother’s idea,&uot; Thigpen said. &uot;They had been talking about it for a long time and mentioned it to me about a month ago.&uot;

&uot;After all, Big C has the best attitude, and he’s our hometown famous person,&uot; Thigpen said. &uot;We love him to death and wanted to throw a party.&uot;

The party featured well over 100 people from all over Alabama coming to visit and wish MacGuire a happy birthday.

&uot;He got to see a lot of people that he hasn’t seen in a long time,&uot; Thigpen said. &uot;It was so much fun.&uot;

The highlight of the night was the presentation of a proclamation from Mayor Dexter McLendon and the city of Greenville declaring Aug. 25, 2007 as &uot;Colin ‘Big C’ MacGuire Birthday Bash Day.&uot;

&uot;I certainly wasn’t expecting a proclamation,&uot; MacGuire said. &uot;It was very nice of them to do that.&uot;

&uot;That was a surprise to all of us,&uot; Thigpen said.

The last words on the proclamation read &uot;Roll Tide!&uot;, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows MacGuire.

MacGuire has been a fan of the University of Alabama since 1969.

&uot;Strangely, they went 6-5 that year when they were used to winning,&uot; he said. &uot;That’s when I got the bug.&uot;

Before he could get to the Capstone, MacGuire played football here in Greenville as a nose tackle for Fort Dale.

On Sept. 19, 1975, he even scored a touchdown for the Eagles.

After graduation, MacGuire spent a year at Marion Military Academy where he says he learned good study habits.

A year later, MacGuire went to Alabama and got a job as the manager of the wrestling team.

All along, his ultimate goal was to be part of the Crimson Tide football team, and that dream came true when he transferred from the wrestling team to the football team in 1978.

&uot;People want things instantly these days,&uot; MacGuire said. &uot;It took some time, but I didn’t give up on trying to get there.&uot;

As a team manager, MacGuire got to work with the most legendary figure in all of Alabama lore - Paul &uot;Bear&uot; Bryant.

&uot;The day before the Alabama-Vanderbilt game, I ran by Coach Bryant on my way to the locker room and he said, ‘How’d they look in practice?’

I was scared to death,&uot; MacGuire said.

Later, Bryant offered MacGuire a ride in his golf cart.

&uot;It scared me so bad I said, ‘No, sir’,&uot; MacGuire said.

Despite Bryant’s reputation as a stern, imposing figure, MacGuire also got to see the softer side of him.

After MacGuire became ill in 1979, Bryant sent him a letter at Christmas telling him to stay tough, and the team missed him.

A copy of that letter was on display at Saturday’s party, along with other Alabama memorabilia.

&uot;Being a manager was a lot of hard work, but a lot of fun,&uot; MacGuire said.

MacGuire also got a look at the inner workings of two national championship teams.

&uot;Back then, when Alabama lost a game, people didn’t pout and say, ‘We’re no good’,&uot; he said. &uot;The team said that there was going to be a team with one loss playing for the championship and it might as well be us.&uot;

&uot;It’s hard to explain, but great to be a part of,&uot; MacGuire added.

During that time, MacGuire made friends with many of the players for the Crimson Tide.

A couple of these players, such as Scooter Dyess, made it to Greenville for Saturday’s party.

&uot;A lot of folks couldn’t come, but they sent their best wishes,&uot; MacGuire said.

These days, MacGuire is back in Greenville, putting his UA communications degree and encyclopedic knowledge to good use.

In addition to hosting his own radio show on WGYV, MacGuire is also going to be working on the Friday night high school scoreboard show, and he also regularly calls in to John and Barry’s Sportsline radio show in Montgomery.

Because of his outgoing personality, there was no shortage of friends at MacGuire’s birthday party.

&uot;It was great seeing him talking to people that he probably hasn’t seen in years,&uot; Thigpen said. &uot;We had a lot of help putting this together.&uot;

&uot;There’s a whole lot of people I want to thank,&uot; Thigpen said. &uot;Joby and Brenda Norman, Earl and Debbie Martin, Michael and Shera Norman, Mike Norman, Roger Norred, Freddie and Kim Beverly, Cody and Debbie Wesley, Steve and Jill Stallworth, John and Susan Andrews, Mike and Debra Arthur, Norman and Vivian McGowin, Milton Lucky, Debra Arthur , Rhett Ideland, Melvin Stone, Warren and Elizabeth Matthews, and Gary Jones.&uot;

&uot;All these people helped us get this party together,&uot; Thigpen added. &uot;We wanted to do it because Big C is just such a special person.&uot;