Celebrating Sports Fellowship,
Spirit, and Community Pride
Important Note: All those planning to attend the next meeting,
please RVSP to John prior to the meeting night.
This will insure proper food coverage for the meeting.
GCAC 11th Annual
Golf Tournament Results
Congratulations to the Winners!
Brad Patty, Craig Mathews, Hunter Mathews, Johnny Neumeier
Who shot a 49.3 Net to take the 4 Man Scramble!
Visit Our 11th Annual GCAC Tournament Page
containing results and pictures of all the fun!
GCAC Donates $5,250
To Gulf Shores Middle School
The Gulf Shores Athletic Club presented the Gulf Shores Middle School football program with a check for $5,250.00 on Thursday, May 23rd.
Earlier Discussions with Head Football Coach Mel Stringfellow, revealed that the Gulf Shores Middle School football program was in dire need of
updated equipment, especially from a safety standpoint. As an example, Coach Stringfellow pointed out that all of their shoulder pads were in disrepair,
and were literally held together with string and tape.
The Gulf Coast Athletic Club made a decision to help. The donation from GCAC allows the school to purchase new shoulder pads for the entire team and help with the purchase of new uniforms.
This donation only helps Coach Stringfellow in his quest to update their equipment and the Gulf Coast Athletic Club would encourage other individuals or organizations to consider doing the same.
A strong Middle School program can do nothing but help the Gulf Shores High School Dolphins football program.
Congratulations To Our
2013 Scholarship Winners!
Nicole Wallace and Brooks Mason
The Gulf Coast Athletic Club recognized the club’s “Scholar Athletes of the Year” and presented its annual scholarships to Gulf Shores High School Senior Scholar Athletes, Nicole Wallace & Brooks Mason at the school’s annual awards night May 17th. Each received a scholarship from GCAC valued at $2250.00.
Nicole Wallace is an active student at Gulf Shores High School where she maintains a 3.94 GPA while taking Honors and Advanced Placement classes. She is an A-B Honor Roll student and is ranked 23rd in her class of 185 students Her ACT score is 26. Nicole is a member of the National Honor Society, Juniorettes, Pure Club officer, active in Friends of Exceptional Children and Teens Against Animal Cruelty.
Nicole is captain of the varsity softball team and played and lettered in softball her entire high school career. She was 7th in the state for 5A stolen bases as a 9th grader and All-County both her Junior & Senior years. She also lettered in Varsity basketball. Nicole was voted “Most Athletic Female” in her senior class.
Nicole is active in her community where she was a softball tournament scorekeeper and soccer official for the City of Gulf Shores. She is a Volunteer for softball camps, Children’s Church, Costal Cleanup, and is active in Vacation Bible School.
Nicole plans to attend The University of Alabama in the fall to pursue a degree in Nursing and, ultimately, obtain a master’s degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She is inspired by her grandmother, a nurse for 17 years, but who entered college only after 22 years as a homemaker. Nicole is motivated to be the best caregiver she can possibly be.
Brooks Mason maintains a 3.87 GPA while enrolled in Honors Classes and has a 25 ACT score. He is ranked 20th in his class of 187 students. Brooks is a member of the National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Interact Club, Friends of Exceptional Children, Teens Against Animal Cruelty, and is a Juniorettes Sweetheart.
Brooks played both baseball and football at Gulf Shores High School. His honors and achievements include:
4 Year Letterman-Varsity Baseball 3 Year Letterman-Varsity Football Team Captain-Baseball-2011Honorable Mention-All Region-Baseball-2009 All-County Baseball-2011 & 2012Eric B. McCoy Leadership Award-2012
Alabama East-West All-Star Baseball Team Selectee
Brooks is very active in his community and church. He is a volunteer and Youth Leader at Liberty Church and participates in the Youth Group activity of feeding the Homeless in Pensacola. He is a reader for Orange Beach Elementary School and volunteers for other Orange Beach and Gulf Shores activities.
Brooks plans to attend Samford University where he will major in accounting.
Thank You 2012-13 Guest Speakers!
Thank You 2011-12 Guest Speakers!
6:00pm Social---6:30 Supper
Director of Player Personnel
Oddsmaker and sports analyst, Danny Sheridan, was the key note speaker to kick off the 2013 Gulf Coast Athletic Club (GCAC) season on August 26. His remarks were filled with jokes and focused on insight into the upcoming college football landscape. With GCAC members representing roughly 23 colleges, Danny made sure that no one would leave wondering how their team may fair, commenting on every SEC team, several non-SEC schools, as well as predicting who will meet in the Super Bowl.
Sheridan agrees with the overwhelming consensus that Alabama will win the SEC West this season and will face the winner of the Florida-South Carolina game for the SEC Championship. He predicts the Tide to be double digit favorites in every game except Texas A&M and they will win 11 regular season games and play for the National Championship.
For a more in-depth report on Danny Sheridan's thoughts on the upcoming season, visit Mobile-Press Registers, Mark Inabinett's report on AL.com.
Past President, Fred Dickinson, was awarded a plaque by the club, to honor his two years of great service during his term. Congratulations again, Fred!
New members were welcomed and introduced as our club continues to grow, thanks to efforts of many, including new Membership Chairman, David DeMeyer.
As in every meeting, we waited with great anticipation for the Team Reports, led by Kevin Corcoran.
Although no games have been played, each GCAC member had the opportunity to tell a little about their teams prospects for the upcoming year. Kevin has also introduced a new "timer", to help certain members.....David DeMeyer.....in keeping team reports brief. This timer is complete with a Washington State Cougars logo on the face of it. David totally ignored his first encounter with the timer and is certain to do so in the future!
After another great meal provided by the Craft Farms staff, the meeting was adjourned.
Next meeting, as shown at the top of this page, is Alabama's Director of Player Personnel......more importantly, former Husker coach, Kevin Steele, on September 9th. Please let John McCormick know as soon as possible if you will be in attendance.
See you next meeting!
President John McCormick
presents past President Fred Dickinson with a plaque
honoring his two years of service as the GCAC President.
Congratulations on a job well done, Fred!
Click on Pictures To Enlarge
6:00pm Social---6:30 Supper
for Alabama Crimson Tide
Eli Gold, voice of the Alabama Crimson Tide, entertained the Gulf Coast Athletic Club at the September 23rd meeting. Although best known around here as being the “Voice of the Tide” (which began in 1988), Eli’s broadcasting career began in 1972 in Brooklyn, New York. By age 23 he was announcing hockey in New York and has since handled play-by-play assignments for various college football programs, NHL, MLB, AFL, NFL, and NASCAR. Eli has been recognized 4 times as being the Alabama Sportscaster of the Year.
Eli offered insight into his broadcasting background, career, and how he has ascended to where he is today. With a predominately UA crowd on hand, Eli played to his base early on, addressing Tide-specific matters such as the Bill Battle hire, how the Tide’s season has unfolded thus far, his relationship with the various coaches, and how he got to Tuscaloosa. But no matter whom you cheer for on Saturdays, large parts of Eli’s message reached across team lines. His message was simple and inspiring: If you focus on what you want to do, commit yourself 100% to your goal, prepare and practice, nothing is out of reach. Few realize Eli didn’t go to college or even finish high school. He would spend countless hours at the ball fields watching games from the back row of the bleachers, practicing his play-by-play announcing. “I didn’t know the players or their stats, but that didn’t matter”, he said. He was practicing his art, perfecting his play calling. His love of broadcasting, constant practice, and study of the English language set the foundation for his career. He is quick to point out that his story is not intended to diminish education, but is to encourage those to aim high, continually strive to improve your craft, and always believe in yourself, even if the deck is stacked against you.
A common fallacy is that Eli is an employee of the University, when in fact he is actually employed by Learfield Communication, who is the “rights holder” of Alabama athletics broadcasts. His contractual responsibilities include announcing all of the Tide’s football and basketball games, host call-in talk shows, play-by-play for other college games (that don’t interfere with Bama), several NFL games, and NASCAR races. Just to get a sneak peak of this hectic schedule, in November, Eli will be announcing the Baylor/ Oklahoma game on a Thursday, Alabama/ LSU on Saturday, NASCAR in Phoenix on Sunday, and a NFL game on Monday.
With a majority of the crowd in Crimson and Eli’s association with Alabama football, much of the presentation centered on the Tide, as expected. He praised new AD, Bill Battle. Noting Battle’s deep UA roots and experience, “there could not have been a better replacement for the late Mal Moore.” Regarding the season thus far, Eli said that it has been “interesting.” He thinks Virginia Tech will end up with a top 7 defense, Johnny Manziel is the clear front runner for the Heisman, and the players “just had no excitement or enthusiasm” for the Colorado State game plus the team was “decimated by injuries.” Eli drew many laughs from the crowd, such as when he described his fist impression with Texas A&M. This was his time to the stadium at College Station. He arrived at the press-box four hours before kickoff and was greeted by a team of workers who were removing all of the bats from the press-box. He related this to the time he was announcing a NASCR race in Phoenix, where an Indian arrived on horseback to the track to remove rattle snakes. His assessment of the A&M game boiled down to one thing, or better yet, one person, Johnny Manziel. According to Eli, “Johnny Football is the best QB I have ever seen”, adding “I wish him nothing but the best, but hopes he leave soon”. Eli is optimistic as the O & D lines are improving from week to week.
Eli discussed his working relationship with both Stallings and Saban, sharing stories of his interaction with each. He told about his firsthand experience with Stallings and a kicker recruit where the kicker could drill FG’s from anywhere on the field but when Stallings would approach him, he couldn’t come close. The recruit told the coach, “I just can’t do it with you watching”, to which Stallings replied, “Well son, I’ll be at all of our games”. Regarding Saban, Eli described him as “different,” “punctual,” “focused,” “businesslike” and simply “a winner”. Eli said they didn’t even speak for the first year so he called an LSU broadcasting colleague to try to figure out what the problem was. The colleague told Eli that he and Saban didn’t speak for five years while in Baton Rouge. He learned quickly that Saban puts little emphasis on anything other than what it takes to execute on Saturday.
Q&A with Eli Gold:
What was your favorite game to call? “There are too many to list. For the sake of sheer excitement, I’ll say all of the National Championship games.” He also singled out the 1989 UA/ Ole Miss game where Bama won 62-21 and the 2009 UA/UT game where Terrance Cody blocked two FG’s.
Who will win the Heisman? “Johnny Manziel. Without him, they are a totally different team. Right now, I don’t see anyone close”.
Do like announcing football or NASCAR better? “They are totally different. With football, you represent one side, one team. With NASCAR, you represent all 43 teams and have to appeal to everyone.”
GCAC’s membership is diverse, and everyone, regardless of team affiliation, was sure to have left Eli Gold’s presentation entertained, informed, and even inspired.
Other highlights include:
Coach Ben Blackmon, head football coach and AD at Gulf Shores High School, addressed the club and expressed his gratitude for GCAC’s donation which funded an end zone camera system. Offensive line coach, Matt Blake, also expressed his appreciation and joked that the players don’t like it near as much as the coaches.
Kevin Corcoran hosted the team reports. Still fired up from the Rutgers comeback victory over Arkansas, Bill Durmer, was on point as usual with his teams report. The “crying towel” went to Arkansas for their heartbreaking 24-28 loss to Rutgers. Ed Cluck reluctantly accepted on behalf of the Razorbacks.
No scholar athletes were recognized at this meeting.
We hope to see you at our next meeting on October 7th at the Craft Farms Clubhouse where sports talk radio personality, Scott Moore, will be speaking and broadcasting his live radio show. Reserve your spot by contacting John McCormick.
GCAC Donates $5,000
To Gulf Shores High School
Gulf Coast Athletic Club President, John McCormick, was pleased to surprise Athletic Director and Head Football Coach, Ben Blackmon, with a check for $5,000 at Monday nights meeting. The funds will be used to purchase a much needed endzone camera for filming each game and practices.
The portable unit is needed to replace the previous method of borrowing a bucket truck, that was able to pull up to the endzone and raise a volunteer high enough to record the games. New renovations at the football stadium do not allow for a truck to be used in the this same manner.
Coach Blackmon seemed genuinely surprised by the donation and thanked the club for the very generous contribution to the needs of the football team.
Coach Kevin Steele, later added that this is how communities can make a difference in not only how the teams can prosper, but how individuals can be benifited by these types of technologies as well, to further their goals and ambitions.
Over 100 GCAC members and guests welcomed the University of Alabama’s Director of Player Personnel, Kevin Steele, as the speaker for the September 9, 2013 meeting. Mr. Steele returned to the Tide earlier this year with a new role after spending the 2007 & 2008 on Saban’s staff followed by a 3-year stint as Clemson’s Defensive Coordinator.
Steele, a 1981 University of Tennessee graduate, played for Johnny Majors and has coached under some legendary coaches including: Joe Lee Dunn (New Mexico State: 1983), Phil Fulmer (UT: 1987), Tom Osborne (Nebraska: 1989-1994), Dom Capers (Carolina: 1995-1999), Bobby Bowden (FSU: 2003-2006), Nick Saban (2007 & 2008, 2013-present), and Dabo Swinney (Clemson: 2009-2012).
Steele began his presentation saying, “I have no clue what Director of Player Personnel means, but I do know recruiting.” Steele leads recruiting efforts for the Tide’s football program and quickly pointed out that he won’t be able to go into detail on recruiting as this is as secretive as Coco-Cola’s formula. Touching briefly on Alabama’s recruiting, he said, “we are at 20 commitments now for 2014. Our biggest need is at Defensive Line, and there just aren’t a lot of solid DL’s out there now”.
Steele’s presentation touched briefly on the “X’s and O’s” and the currently climate in Tuscaloosa, but primarily focused on stories involving his coaching carrier noting many of his legendary past employers, how the game has evolved, Saban’s relentless work habits, and what Saban expects from coaches and players.
He told stories of his past employers and what he was able to pick up from them. For example, he touched on the defensive prowess of Dom Capers, Bobby Bowden’s “ability to relate with everyone”, and Saban’s relentless work ethic.
According to Steele, one of the primary changes in the game is the evolution of the offenses. He discussed how the speed of the game is so much faster with the emergence of the “no huddle” and how this plays a toll on the opposing defense. “Not too long ago, a team had maybe three formations on offence and ran their plays from those. Today, a team may have a dozen different formations, running it from the no-huddle, getting off 9 plays with just 41 seconds coming off the clock. Defensive Coordinators are having to get creative in developing schemes for these emerging style of offensive play”.
The attendees were eager to hear Steele’s experiences working for Coach Saban. He began by saying, “It probably isn’t a good idea to speak in public about your boss and this is no exception”, which drew a large from the crowd. He said what makes Saban unique is his laser focus on only what takes place between the lines. “His commitment to excellence 24/7 puts him in a category by himself and is why he has won 62 of the last 67 games.”
Steele’s comfortable in his new role over recruiting and prefers it (at least for now) over coaching from the side lines due to the coaching carousel associated with college football coaches. “Just look at the Texas DC. He loses one game and he’s fired.” Colleges are quick to fire a coach but they aren’t so quick to fire the guy over recruiting. Steele ended his presentation by taking questions from the attendees.
Other highlights from the meeting include:
Continuing in the spirit of promoting Gulf Shores athletics, John McCormick, GCAC President, presented a check for $5,000 to GSHS Head Football Coach and AD, Ben Blackmon. This donation will fund an end zone camera system which will capture video necessary to improve player technique and alignment.
GCAC board member, Dr. Gaylon McCollough, recognized and introduced two scholar athletes from Gulf Shores High School. This week’s honorees were Carolina Braga and Parker Mason. Carolina is currently #1 in her class with a combined GPA of 4.03 GPA. She is a 4-year letterman in Volleyball. After High School, Carolina hopes to pursue Biomedical Sciences. Parker is a multi-sport athlete, lettering in football, basketball, and baseball. He hopes to continue athletics and study Engineering once at college. GCAC scholar athlete recognition makes both Carolina and Parker candidates to earn a scholarship, which will be presented at the GCAC Annual Banquet, worth at least $1,500 to a four year college.
Kevin Corcoran energized the crowd with “team reports”, where GCAC members discussed their teams’ recent performance and upcoming matchups, with Kevin often interrupting to take a jab the team in focus…or the member. This week’s “crying towel” went to the Fighting Irish for their tough loss to Michigan. Dec McClellan accepted the towel on behalf of Notre Dame.
We look forward to seeing you at our next GCAC meeting on September 23rd, where Eli Gold, voice of The Alabama Crimson Tide, will be the key note speaker.
Written by: Taylor Means
Sports Talk Radio Host
Broadcasting from Craft Farms on Meeting Night
Click on Pictures to Enlarge
The October 7th Gulf Coast Athletic Club meeting turned out to be one of the most entertaining nights of the season with nationally renowned radio personality, Scott Moore, as the keynote speaker. Scott is best known for his uncanny ability to impersonate over 70 celebrities, politicians, and coaches. Over the past five years, Scott has had the privilege of speaking at the National Quarterback Club in Washington, D.C., the NFL MVP Award Ceremony, and the 2005 ESPN College Football Awards. In addition, Scott served as host of CSTV's "Coast to Coach" and has been a featured guest speaker at five BCS Bowls. Currently, Scott can be heard nationally on italksec.com, which is the largest nationally syndicated SEC talk show in America, and on iheartradio, which is the internet radio platform owned by Clear Channel Broadcasting.
Scott entertained the GCAC crowd with spot-on impersonations of various past and present college coaches with Bill Clinton even making an appearance. If you would have closed your eyes, you would think the actual celebrity was in the room as not only did it sound like the person, but the expressions and mannerism were identical as well.
Some of the highlights included appearances by: an enthusiastic Dabo Sweeney, a solemn, reserved, and pious Mark Richt, a slow southern-speaking Pat Dye, a story telling Gene Stallings, an energetic Les Miles in his low-riding LSU cap, a visor-sporting Steve Spurrier commenting, “If Ja-day-vion doesn’t want to play, he doesn’t have to. He’s 6’8”, 280 and does what he wants”. Lou Holtz addressed the club with an exaggerated lisp and a rambling, mumbling, explanation why Notre Dame would win the National Championship. Bobby Bowden, with a strong southern drawl, spoke on philosophy, The Art of War, and sayings like, “ya know it’s amazing what the human body can do when a bigger body is chasing after ya.” With his arms across the podium, grasping the corners, a frustrated Nick Saban told “the media” to “ask a question that’s not stupid”, touched on “focus”, “execution”, and “character”, while constantly interrupting himself with “Aaaa-ight”.
After some hysterical impersonations, Scott gave his take on the college football landscape and prefaced by touting his current “phenomenal” run in picking against the spread, going 23 for 28. He predicted Auburn to win 8 games and said he wouldn’t be surprised if they win 9. Scott has Alabama and Stanford in the National Championship game adding that Oregon wouldn’t make it due to their “inability to win close games”. His other predictions include: Clemson losing to South Carolina, Ohio State will not run the table, FSU to lose at Clemson, and Florida will represent the East in the SEC Championship. Regarding the NC, “a 1 loss SEC team will be ahead of an undefeated Big 10 team and if a PAC 12 team goes undefeated, they are in”. Scott noted the past 18 National Champions have led the nation in one category…Defense.
Q&A with Scott Moore:
Q: Who will be the next HC at UT and USC?
A: Steve Sarkisian, current HC at Washington, is the perfect fit at USC. Art Briles, HC at Baylor, has 70 straight 30 point games. “I don’t necessarily see him at either school, but he won’t be at Baylor long. If I could hire one person, it would be Art”
Q: Should players be compensated?
Q: Do you see the NCAA, in its current form, being around much longer?
A: “No. The playoffs will speed up this process. Their problem is the rule book is 2 feet thick and there is no way to enforce it”. The newly assembled BCS playoff committee will be the beginning of the end for the NCAA.
Half way through the 2013 season, GCAC has had the pleasure of hearing our guests relive great football stories and delve into the X’s & O’s of the game, with plenty of great speakers still to come. While all have been entertaining, many have been insightful, encouraging, and educational, all with a varying degree of humor. Scott Moore was 100% pure entertainment and was certainly the most hilarious speakers to take the GCAC podium. For the first time in recent memory, someone brought more laughs than Kevin!
Other highlights include:
Dr. McCollough recognized this week’s scholar athletes, Mattie McAllister and Ben Taylor from GSHS, who will now be eligible for the 2013 GCAC College Scholarship. Mattie’s accomplishments include serving as class President, serving on SGA, and being a member of the National Honor Society. She is a multi-sport athlete, playing soccer, basketball, and volleyball. She has received All-County recognition in each sport while maintaining a 4.1 GPA. Ben is a 3-year letterman on the football and soccer team and is involved in National Honor Society and Key Club. With a 29 on the ACT, he hopes to pursue mechanical engineering at Auburn next year. Congratulations Mattie and Ben!
Coach Blackmon from GSHS updated the club on GSHS athletics reporting the football team currently sits at 3-3. Coach Stringfellow from Gulf Shores Middle School addressed the club offering thanks and gratitude for the generous donation from GCAC to fund new shoulder pads and jerseys.
GCAC Annual Golf Tournament has been set for March 28th.
In team reports, Barb Patty gave a thorough Alabama report. Ed Cluck reported that his Arkansas team is playing less like Razorbacks and more like opossums, saying, “we lie down at home and get killed on the road”. As Chris Roper gave the Bowling Green report, Kevin Corcoran, host of the team reports, could be heard in the background saying, “nobody cares, moving on”. Colorado was on the verge of winning their first Crying Towel of the year but they were saved thanks to the poor performance by Penn State. As Kevin pointed out, “they did something that no one has managed to do all season, which is hold Indiana to 23 points in the first quarter.” Tom Grabowski accepted the towel for Penn State, which read, “Nittany’s Jitney stalls in Hoosierville”.
On Monday, October 21st GCAC will feature Steve Shaw, Coordinator of SEC Officials. Meetings begin at 6:00 PM at the Craft Farms Clubhouse. Reserve your spot by contacting John McCormick.
Reported by Taylor Means.
6:00pm Social---6:30 Supper
SEC Coordinator of
The October 21st, GCAC meeting began with John McCormick’s announcements followed by David DeMeyer introducing guests and new member, Greg Banks.
Coach Blackmon from GSHS reported on the Dolphins athletic program. The Volleyball team will soon begin the area tournament and Cross Country currently sits in 2nd place. The football team is at 5-3 and much of the focus this week at practice has been on personal responsibility and taking care of your individual assignments.
No scholar athletes were recognized this week.
Kevin Corcoran hosted the team reports, stating “more teams were fighting for the Crying Towel than for Jo Bonner’s seat”. With so many pitiful performances, let downs, and underdog victories, the “Crying Towel Committee” had a tough week so opted to award “mini-towels” to the finalist. They include: LSU- accepted by Gary Klussman, Texas A&M- accepted by Biff Johnson, Michigan- accepted by Bill McGinnis, and Tennessee- accepted by John McCormick.
John Ward reported San Jose State has a big game coming up against Toledo. David DeMeyer, while on the timer, gave the Wash. St report. Bill Durmer, reporting on Rutgers, said “we has as many points as Arkansas, but we were off”. Ron Sumter gave the Tulsa report, saying, “We’re still playing”, to which Kevin commented, “and that’s more than Grambling St can say”. After much anticipation, the Crying Towel was awarded to Georgia after posting losses against Missouri and Vanderbilt. Chip Wisdom accepted the towel, which read, “Show me the Doors”.
Kevin is selling chances to win Iron Bowl tickets for $10 with proceeds going toward the Jacob Morgan Fund.
Now on to the keynote speaker:
Have you ever said “we won the game because the officials did a great job, called a fair game, and made good calls?” Highly doubtful, but you probably have said, “we shoulda won the game but the officials robbed us with lousy calls”. As a fan, we have all been there. When your team has a bad play, how many times have you blamed a loss on a missed holding call, bad spot, or said “that shoulda been pass interference”. As a fan, it is certainly easier to blame the officials when things don’t go our way. All sports fans have at some point blamed a loss on the officiating and rarely do they get recognition for a job well done. It comes with the territory of being an official. Officiating, especially in the SEC, it can be a thankless gig.
Our keynote speaker this week, Steve Shaw, has been a Referee in the SEC for 15 years and is currently serving as Coordinator of Football Officials for the SEC, a role which he has maintained for the past 3 seasons. Steve is over every football referee and every aspect of officiating in the Southeastern Conference. His officiating accomplishments include fourteen Post-Season assignments, including two National Championship games, eight BCS Bowls and four SEC Championship Games. Steve was the President of the SEC Football Officials Association (2009 – 2011), and had served his last three seasons as “Referee – In Chief.” Steve was able to share a unique perspective into the game from the view point of an SEC official.
Steve commented on officiating, his goals as Coordinator, the challenges and pressure of officiating, the state of the SEC, and shared many stories from his unique vantage point as a referee.
Most officials are retired, do it as a second job, or simply as hobby, but as Steve puts it, “all of these guys do it for the love of the game. It’s their passion”. Officiating can be very demanding on both the referee and their family. He said, “when someone tells me that they want to be a referee, I tell them to first have the discussion with their family.” It requires a lot more than simply showing up on Saturday. Officials will spend 21 weekends away from home plus numerous hours during the week reviewing film. Usually, an SEC referee will arrive at the game city on Friday and spend that evening reviewing film and their previous film grade (every official gets graded on every play of every game). On Saturday (game day), the officiating crew meets 5.5 hours prior to kickoff to begin preparation. Immediately after the game, they reconvene at the hotel for film review and discussion. They travel home on Sunday and review film again Sunday night. Their goal, like the teams they officiate, is to make the post-season (Bowl Games).
A typical Saturday for Steve involves arriving at the “command center” early where every SEC game will be broadcast. There are several officials in this command center with one focusing solely on social media. Steve said, “We know immediately where there is about to be an issue as social media will explode. My goal is to leave that day with every issue addressed and all questions answered”. All calls are left up to the officials on the field and no calls ever come from the command center with the one exception being the decision to call-off a game due to inclement weather.
As you can expect, there has to be many embarrassing moments as a ref. Steve shared several of these stories, such as encounters with “difficult” coaches like Spurrier and Sherrill and instances involving the first game-day job of the ref, the coin toss. As a first year referee, Steve and his crew were assigned every SEC homecoming game. His first time at The Swamp, while on National TV, the Gators win the toss and chose the North End zone. The problem was no one knew which end zone was the North. Another instance with the toss involved the former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. “She is as brilliant, well-spoken, and articulate as they come”, Steve said. While tossing the coin for an Alabama game, the coin didn’t make a single rotation and UA won the toss. When she later described that moment, she recalled, Brodie Croyle (QB) say “n-ice flee-up”. Hearing the articulate Secretary revert to country grammar was eye opening. One instance, which was rectified by replay, involved a game between Mississippi State and Arkansas. The game was tight and the stakes were huge with the winner advancing to the SEC Championship. The ref was taken out by 2 defenders and the ball was fumbled out of bounds. Steve asked the line judge, who was 50 yards away, “who last had possession before it went out”. The line judge replied, “it was close”. Replay determined Arkansas didn’t have possession, but Steve said, “Without replay, our crew would have made SportsCenter that night”.
The largest overall change has been the introduction of instant replay in 2005. Steve says it’s been a welcome change especially since the game is evolving into more of an up-tempo, spread offence, fast paced game. “The rules committee doesn’t want the game officiated from the booth. We don’t want to cross that line. Replay is there to correct obvious errors…but we left “obvious” a long time ago”.
Steve says in his 15 years as an official or Coordinator, the “targeting” call is the biggest game changer. “This game is under attack”. There are lawsuits galore affecting coaches, players, and officials such as the recent $786 million judgment in the NFL. Steve makes it clear that officials don’t make the rules. Steve said, “The coaches make the rules and it’s our job to enforce those rules.” Regarding targeting, everyone agrees that a player launching with the crown of their helmet is a safety hazard but the hard part is making and enforcing a rule that, in effect, changes the game. “Clowney’s hit in the bowl game was textbook: head up with arms out to wrap up”, he says, adding “but we have to change player behavior and mentality when it comes to illegal hits.” He told a story about a player who delivered an illegal hit last year and got up celebrating. That same player delivered another illegal hit this year and got up covering his face because he knew it was illegal. According to Steve, that is what it’s about, “changing the player’s mentality on what’s clean and what’s dirty.” And it’s working. Steve points out that targeting fouls are down from 1/8 games last year to 1/10 games this year. Steve admits the current rule isn’t perfect, but indicates there will likely be tweaks. “The rules committee will look at the 15-yard penalty and immediate player ejection at the end of the year and I expect there to be some changes”.
Q: Explain the officiating “crews”?
A: There are 9 crews consisting of 7 officials. Then there are 9 replay officials with 9 observers. We have 26 supplemental officials working in smaller conferences like the Sun Belt who hope to one day become an SEC official.
Q: What if a coach has a problem with an official?
A: I’m not going to put an official in a game where there is a known issue. There is zero bias amongst our officials. They can’t officiate for their alma mater or in their home town.
Q: What’s your #1 job and priority as Coordinator of Officials?
A: Too get us (SEC officials) perfect.
After hearing Steve Shaw share such unique insight and a different perspective into SEC football, a point of view which no fan, coach, or player can offer, we should all be less inclined to blame the men in stripes when things don’t go our way. Who am I kidding, that means we would have to hold our team accountable, and that just isn’t going to happen. Fortunately, Steve and his crews realize that just comes with the territory and they will continue doing their job at the highest level.
Wednesday, November 6th (Not Monday), GCAC will feature Ken Meyer, football coach at the high school, College, and NFL level, including stints with Alabama and the San Francisco 49ers. Reserve your spot by contacting John McCormick.
Written by: Taylor Means
Click on Picture to Enlarge
Click on Pictures to Enlarge
From our, November 6th
Collegiate & NFL Coach
University of Alabama
San Francisco 49ers--Seattle Seahawks
Ken Meyer (born July 14, 1926) is a former football coach at the high school, collegiate and professional levels. He may be best remembered as the head coach of the National Football League's San Francisco 49'rs in 1977.
Ken Meyer was a native of Ashtabula, Ohio. Meyer was a B-17 tail gunner with the 8th Air Force during WWII. He played quarterback at Denison University under legendary football coach Woody Hayes, before Hayes became head coach at the Ohio State University. Meyer set several single season and career school records, one of which still stands, and the team's record was 22-3-0 during his varsity career. He was elected to Denison's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987.
Meyer gained his first coaching experience as head coach at an Ohio high school. From 1952-1957, he was an assistant at his alma mater before accepting an assistant coaching position at Wake Forest University in 1958. After two years with the Demon Deacons, he moved on to take another assistant position, this time with the Florida State Seminoles. While with Florida State, he recruited and coached future NFL quarterback Steve Tensi and future Pro Football Hall of Famer, Fred Biletnikoff.
Following three years in that capacity, Meyer accepted an assistant's role in 1963 at the Universtiy of Alabama under another legendary coach, Paul "Bear" Bryant. During his five years with the Crimson Tide, he worked with the team's quarterbacks, a group which included future Pro Football Hall of Famer, Joe Namath, as well as Super Bowl winning signal caller Ken Stabler. Alabama's combined record during this time was 47-6-2, including five straight Top 10 seasons, an undefeated year finishing #3 in the country plus two National Championships.
When Dick Nolan was hired as head coach of the 49ers in 1968, he hired Meyer to tutor the team's offensive backs. After one year, Meyer departed to accept a similar role with the New York Jets, reuniting him with Namath. Despite coming off a win in Super Bowl III, the Jets were never able to recapture their magic during Meyer's four years with the team, with major injuries to Namath serving as a major culprit.
On February 6, 1973, Meyer left the Jets to accept the position of offensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Rams, reuniting him with Chuck Knox, who had worked with him at Wake Forest. During four frustrating years, the team reached the NFC Championship game three times, but lost on each occasion.
Meyer became an NFL head coach when the 49ers fired Monte Clark and hired him on April 19, 1977. However, following a 5-9 record, Meyer was fired on January 10, 1978, and returned to coaching nine weeks later as the offensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears under new head coach Neill Armstrong. The Bears reached the postseason once in Meyer's three seasons, with the veteran coach resigning on December 24, 1980.
Meyer returned to the college ranks for the next two years, serving as offensive coordinator for Tulane University. When former mentor Chuck Knox became head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, he hired Meyer as an assistant on February 24, 1983 where he was quarterbacks coach until his retirement after the 1991 season. He helped guide the Seahawks to the 1983 AFC Championship game and the 1988 AFC West Division Title.
The American Football Association of Finland, invited Meyer to run a quarterback clinic in 1992 and he returned to the country to coach Turku Trojans for 1993 and the National Team of Finland for 1993-1997. Finland won the European Championship under Meyer in 1993,1995 and 1997. He also was an assistant coach with Team Finland Juniors in the 1996 European Championship tournament held in Frankfurt where Team Finland won all its games.
From our November 18th
Former 4 year Center
and Radio Host for
Cole Cubelic is a former center for the Auburn Tigers. He was a 4-year letterman while on The Plains (1996-2000) and anchored the offensive line his senior year, helping the Tigers win the Western Division title in 2000.
In 2000, Cole was voted a permanent team captain and named to the SEC Good Works Team. From 2003-2008, he served as color commentator for the Auburn Tigers and their pay-per-view television broadcasts.
In 2009, he took a role with the Sun Belt Network and broadcasts as the color commentator for their game of the week. Cole started his transition into terrestrial radio in 2010 when he became host of The Cole Cubelic Show, a one-hour daily show airing on 97.7 The Zone in Huntsville, Alabama.
He has served as color analyst for ESPN, CSS, and Comcast for SEC & Sun Belt football. As host of “The Auburn Hour” Cole can be heard locally on ESPN 1450 AM & 101.1 FM Tuesdays 11-12 in Pensacola.
A native of Homewood, Cubelic currently resides in Huntsville with his wife, Katherine.
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From Our January 21st
4 year Starter with Alabama.
Tight end for the Cleveland Browns, an inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the current General Manager of the Baltimore Ravens.
GCAC Golf Tournament
Friday, March 28th
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Charles Barkley...not attending!
Gulf Coast Athletic Club (GCAC) 2013 season ends on a high note! NFL Hall of Famer and current GM of the Baltimore Ravens, Ozzie Newsome, was the keynote speaker for the final regular meeting of the GCAC 2013 season. Ozzie Newsome’s legacy is unlike any the game has ever seen. A superstar in the football world and known throughout all of sports as a premier leader, Newsome is a Hall of Fame player, the architect of the Baltimore Raven’s Super Bowl XXXV championship team and an elite personnel evaluator who became the NFL’s first African American general manager for the Baltimore Ravens in 2002. Of all the great players to play for The University of Alabama, Newsome is one of only 18 who are in the College Football Hall of Fame. Newsome played for the Cleveland Browns for his entire 13 year NFL career (never missing a game) and holds virtually every franchise receiving record. In 1999, he was inducted into the elite Pro Football Hall of Fame. Fortunately, Newsome needs little introduction as it would take a novel to summarize his career achievements and highlights.
Newsome took the podium and followed up on a comment which was made by Kevin during the team reports where he said how “a lot can happen in a little time,” referring to the last play of the Iron Bowl. Newsome said, “you are right. I feel like I’ve gone from the penthouse to the (outhouse) in just a year. Last year we had just won the National Championship and the Super Bowl and this year we get beat by Auburn and don’t make the playoffs”. Ozzie is a winner. It’s in his DNA. He’s not satisfied finishing anywhere other than first. While commenting on not making a return trip to the Playoffs he said, “I’m putting my eye-black on and going back to work. It’s 2007 again and we are starting over. If they don’t want to be here, I don’t want them here.”
Newsome does very few speaking engagements, saying that he only speaks to about 2 groups per year. He didn’t have a script or an outline, preferring to address the group in an open, candid manor, which was certainly well received. Newsome discussed several individual players, touched on the Saban hire, and spoke at length about player evaluation, which is a major part of his current role as GM. Ozzie said, “I’m an evaluator. I know all of the good players at all of your schools. That’s my job.” Newsome explained how underclassmen get evaluated and graded while explaining the scouting process. He said that all NFL teams have a college evaluation committee. When a junior is thinking about turning pro, their HC notifies the advisory committee and 6 teams spend 4 days evaluating the player then give their recommendation about how they may stack up in the draft. This year 98 players are leaving college early hoping to find a spot on a NFL roster. According to Ozzie, underclassman are 50% less likely to make it in the league as compared to seniors. Regarding the SEC, Newsome said, “This is where the best players are. My best scouts are put in the SEC.”
Although Newsome was in the area on official business evaluating players participating in the Senior Bowl, he is very familiar with the Alabama Gulf Coast. He has owned a vacation home in Orange Beach for many years but admits that he isn’t able to make use of it as often as he would like. He said, “The last time I was here, a guy by the name of Gus Malzhan had just been introduced as the new coach, which even had most of the Auburn guys (mad)”.
Newsome has many roles as GM such as hiring and firing coaches, ultimately determining which players to go after, and controlling the players’ contract discussions. But Newsome sees his responsibility as even greater. He said, “I become a life coach. Winning is important but you must have respect for the game. I can’t have a player who doesn’t respect the game and his fellow man.” Ozzie believes that it is crucial that he hires “good people” first and foremost.
There has been much speculation about the role Ozzie played in the hiring of Nick Saban and he took a moment to discuss how the events transpired. After the firing of Coach Shula at UA, Newsome received a call from Mal Moore (AD). Moore tells Newsome that he has two names that he is considering, Spurrier and Saban. Newsome told Moore, “I know Saban well and just finished playing golf with Spurrier”. Newsome has close a personal relationship with both men and knew either would be good choices. Ozzie went on to say, “Nick only spoke to two people before accepting the job: Me and Gene Stallings. He asked me, “Can I win”. I told him “We can win.” Ozzie spoke highly of Mal ultimately giving him all of the credit, saying “he alone was the reason we landed Nick.” And the rest is history.
Q: What are your thoughts on Cam Cameron, who was recently let go by the Ravens and hired as OC at LSU (asked by LSU member, Gary Klussman)?
A: “Cam is a good friend. It was hard to fire him. We tried developing him as OC but they just weren’t on the same page. In our business, you keep the player and cut the coach. You are in good hands with Cam”.
Q: Thoughts on Johnny Manziel?
A: “We don’t watch Juniors (until it’s official they are going pro). Now we are looking at him. It’s all about the right person getting with him in the NFL.”
Q: Thoughts on AJ McCarron?
A: “I see him a late 2nd or 3rd round pick. He has all of the intangibles. He should have competed in the Senior Bowl”.
Q: Thoughts on the NFL doing away with the PAT and picking up Friday night games during playoffs?
A: “I’ve been on the rules committee since 1999” along with other owners, GM’s, and HC’s. “Six years ago we visited this same issue (PAT) but it didn’t pass.” According to Ozzie, 24 votes are needed for a rule change and so far it hasn’t come close to passing. Newsome isn’t sure about adding a Friday night game to the playoffs as players need time to rest. He said by 2015 there will likely be 2 additional teams in the Playoffs so the NLF will have to do something but that may just mean “3 games on Saturday and 3 games on Sunday”. The rules committee will meet in Naples for 9 days after the season to further discuss.
Q: Thoughts on (RB) Trent Richardson trade?
A: “They (Browns) saw a commodity in Trent.” Newsome said that Trent will be fine but noted that it usually doesn’t work right off the bat when you plug a RB in half-way into the season.
Q: Thoughts on (QB) David Carr?
A: “I do a lot of TV scouting, like y’all do. I’m just not looking at QB’s. If the guy that we just paid $120 million to doesn’t start doing better, I’ll be out here playing golf with you guys soon.”
Ozzie concluded by thanking his parents and Jesus and giving them all of the credit for his successes. GCAC is grateful that Ozzie Newsome was so eager to address our club. It’s not every day that we get to be in the presence of such an iconic figure and true sports legend.
Other highlights from the January 21st GCAC meeting:
GCAC President, John McCormick, gave the opening announcements. The annual golf tournament will be held March 28th at Craft Farms. Tee sponsorships are $100 and tournament fee is $110/golfer. This is the clubs largest fund raising event which has allowed GCAC to give a scholarship to both a male and female Scholar Athlete since the clubs inception. The success of the 2013 tournament enabled GCAC to generously contribute more than $15000 this season to Gulf Shores Athletics. Scholarship funding and the ability to continue supporting our local schools athletics hinges upon the success of this tournament. To register for the tournament, sponsor a tee, or donate a raffle item, please contact John McCormick (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Fred Dickinson (email@example.com).
Gulf Shores HS coach and AD, Coach Blackmon, along with track coach, Byron Flanagan, provided the GSHS athletics update. Gulf Shores will be hosting the State Track & Field Tournament May 1-2. Boys Basketball team is currently 2-3 in area play. The Dolphin Club will be having its annual “draw down” on February 13 featuring Dr. Zar. Cost is $100.
Dr. Gaylon McCollough introduced and recognized GSHS scholar athletes, Katie Hill and David Nelson. Katie is captain of the cheerleading squad. She scored a 32 on the ACT and currently holds a 4.2 GPA. She plans to attend the University of Alabama to study Biology followed by vet school at the University of Florida. David is on the football and soccer team. He is currently ranked the #3 kicker in Alabama and holds virtually every GS kicking record. He has been selected All-County and All-Region in both sports. He currently has a 3.5 GPA. David plans to study physical therapy at the University of South Alabama and join the US Marine Corp. As GCAC Scholar Athletes, both David and Katie are now eligible to receive a college scholarship worth at least $1500 to be applied to the college of their choosing. Congratulations David and Katie!
Kevin Corcoran hosted the always entertaining team reports where a GCAC member gives a report on their respected university’s performance on the football field. No Crying Towel was awarded this week but is presumed the recipient would have been the University of Alabama. Kevin said, “no towel will be awarded because I won’t be the fool to give one out with this guy sitting beside me”, referring to Newsome.
The GCAC annual golf tournament will be the final event for this season. It will be held at Craft Farms on Friday March, 28th. Contact John McCormick for details. We look forward to your continued involvement with GCAC in 2014!