Having bungled a terrific public relations opportunity last year, passing up the chance to hire Sylvester Croom as its head football coach for Mike Shula, my alma mater has added insult to injury:
Former Alabama player and assistant coach Sylvester Croom was told Wednesday that his name was taken off the “Commitment to Excellence Award” at the University of Alabama. His name was replaced with that of former player Bart Starr.
UA Sports spokesman Larry White said Alabama coach Mike Shula is at sea on a cruise and unavailable for comment. He said there were some closed-door discussions about the decision weeks ago. They decided to remove Croom’s name because he took a job to coach at another Southeastern Conference School.
Now, frankly, I’d barely heard of Croom before the flap over the coaching search. Bart Starr, on the other hand, is a ‘Bama legend who went on to win five NFL championships with the Green Bay Packers, for whom he was later head coach, and has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Were I a player at Alabama, I’d rather win an award with Starr’s name on it than Croom’s. But taking the name of a living person whose honor is above reproach off of the trophy is just bizarre and wrongheaded. Surely, they could come up with another trophy to award annually with Starr’s name on it? And the fact that Croom was hired as Mississippi State’s head coach just adds to the Alabama legacy.
Meanwhile, it turns out that the booster who helped get the program into its current sorry state still has a room named after him at the Bryant Conference Center.
Maybe the University can announce that this was all an April Fools joke.
Hat tip: Steven Taylor