The Gulf Coast Athletic Club started its 2018-2019 season at 7:00pm on Monday, August 27, 2018. New President Linda Martin opened the meeting and thanked all attendees for their interest and attendance. “I’m proud to serve as the Chair of such a great organization.”
Proving that this year will be different than others, President Martin turned the podium over to Dr. Gaylon McCullough to introduce our Guest Speaker who needs to catch a plane earlier than expected.
Our Speaker was University of Alabama Athletic Director Greg Byrne, who took the job in January 2017. He was previously at Arizona, Mississippi State (he hired Dan Mullen there), Oregon State, and Kentucky. His Dad was also an AD at Oregon, Nebraska, and Texas A&M.
He was very much at ease with the GCAC crowd and commented on the excellent state of UA athletics in all sports. His job is “trying to make our student-athletes the best they can be and also make them great citizens for our communities after graduation.”
What’s the next step for Bama? “Making sure we don’t get complacent”, and then he talked about the Crimson Stadium Initiative, making it a first class experience for all over the next 10 years and prepare for the future.
He said Head Football Coach Nick Saban is “66 going on 50” years old and just born to coach. Byrne said, “If you want to keep score, you need to try to win. Do it the right way.” He said all student athletes at UA have an average 3.7 GPA. When asked about Saban staying forever, he said he hoped so!
His annual budget at UA is $148 million and he’s trying to do what’s right for the school, adding U Texas in 2020-21. The school currently spends more than $100 million on travel, food, etc., and he doesn’t see paying athletes in the future.
When asked the inevitable question of who’s the starting Quarterback, Byrne replied, “Tua Hurts.”
President Martin thanked AD Byrne and then introduced the present and past Board Members. She also noted Dr. McCullough was presented the Paul W. Bryant Achievement Award and Doc has written a new book about his UA experiences with proceeds benefitting GCAC!! He’s always been a tremendous GCAC supporter!
Membership Chair Andrew Hart reported 71 members prior to the meeting, but we picked up 15 new members tonight!
David Lee reported on the kickoff of the Office Football Pool for this year noting last year’s Top Prognosticator was Fred Dickinson.
Gulf Shores Head Football Coach Matt Blake gave an excellent update on all GSHS sports, noting we have a State Champion in Wrestling’s 132 lb. Class. 2 cross Country runners set new school records and the Volleyball kicked off their year live streaming at all games. He noted seeing some brotherhood developing and said “We teach life.”
The 50/50 drawing was held and money donated back to the Club, with meeting adjournment at 8:33pm.
By: Bill Tunnell