President Linda Martin opened the Gulf Coast Athletic Club meeting at 7:00pm on Monday, September 9, 2019. She thanked the large crowd assembled, then, in a ‘salute” to Past President David Lee, told a joke! Granted, it was better than most of David’s. New members and guests were introduced.
George Autrey took over the mike and told all of the Football Pool on again for this year. After two weeks, it seems that Taylor Means and George himself are pacing the field so far with 13 wins in 20 games. Lots of picking to go for the 30 participants.
Coach Matt Blake was introduced and then proceeded to introduce his better half, Courtney Blake. Good choice, Coach, although she seems to be a closet Auburn fan married to a former Crimson Tide player!! With a daughter at AU, she can be forgiven. GSHS lost a heart-breaker last Friday in their Homecoming game against Robertsdale. The decision to go for two after the Overtime touchdown didn’t produce the expected result, but Coach said it was the team’s best effort of the year. New Girls Volleyball Coach Karen Atkins is doing a great job, and Cross County is doing well.
Dec McClelland gave the Team Reports with a Top 25 rundown, plus some local favorites. It was good to see Karen Sabatino giving the Colorado Buffaloes report in the same manner as her late husband and former Buff, Bill Sabatino. The legendary Crying Towel started with a bang this year, well, maybe a whimper, as John McCormick took the Crying Towel Award due to Tennessee’s lackluster performances this year. John did note he’s got a nice collection of towels so far. Go, Ole Sloppy Top!
Filling in admirably for his son Taylor, who was out of town for a funeral, Mayor Means gave a fine introduction for our Guest Speaker, former Auburn University Head Football Coach, Tommy Tuberville. He is running for the US Senate because he believes in America as this is not the country he grew up in.
Coach’s resume is most impressive with assistant coaching stints at Arkansas State, Miami, Texas A&M, then Head Coach positions at Ole Miss, Auburn, Texas Tech, and Cincinnati. Auburn was undefeated (13-0) with a Sugar Bowl win in 2004 and Coach was selected as the Coach of the Year. He has been President of the American Football Coaches Association and was hired by ESPN in 2017 as an analyst. He did say something about a thumb, apparently when his Tigers drubbed the Tide six straight years.
Beginning by asking all Veterans to stand up, Coach Tuberville held the audience spellbound with his great collection of stories, sentiments, and hope for the future. He expressed his concern that America was trying to kill Football. He coached for 40 years and, in all that time, college players are still kids, working hard, taking losses very hard, but all should remember they are just kids – 17 to 23 years old.
He told some great stories of hiring assistant coaches, one in particular, some guy they call Coach O of current LSU fame. He said college football is blossoming because of Quarterbacks and the Spread Offense. Without a great QB, it’s tough to win. Jalen Hurts has a great opportunity of Oklahoma this year since little defense is played outside the SEC.
To be a great coach, you must be organized, work hard all year, especially on Sundays during the season, have 120 or so great kids, and be a great motivator. The best motivator he said was Jimmy Johnson at the University of Miami. R.C. Slocomb was also great. Recruiting is also key to success. He did say Nick Saban was the most focused coach anywhere. He said running QBs get killed in the NFL. Coach noted all college athletes get $1,000 monthly and a $1,500 cash bonus at the end of the semester, so paying players not something he sees coming. Game attendance is down due to high ticket prices.
When asked about his vision of the future, this Christian Conservative gave an honest assessment of the problems he sees, and he wants to go help the President. He’s a motivator and a great communicator, and left the crowd talking enthusiastically about his chances in the upcoming 2020 Senate election.
The 50/50 was drawn and awarded to COL Bud Patty and adjournment was at 8:24pm.
By: Bill Tunnell