Crimson Tide Visits White House Again
As the University of Alabama football team prepares to meet President Obama as part of the ritual victory tour that comes with winning a national championship, Randy Ross reflects on the last time the Tide made the trip.
Then Alabama’s recruiting coordinator under head coach Gene Stallings, and now the director of football operations at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Ross recalled President Bill Clinton arriving late for the ceremony and the agitation it caused Stallings.
Apparently not even the president got a pass on Stallings’ tight schedule-keeping.
“We were coming back to Tuscaloosa that day and had to be in Montgomery that night for an Alabama High School Hall of Fame ceremony, and that was a big deal to coach,” Ross said. “[Clinton] was supposed to meet with us at 3, and he was a bit late, and coach called this girl over and she assured him it wouldn’t be too long. And it got to be 3:15 or later, and coach said, ‘I’m fixing to put these players back on the bus. I’ve got a schedule to keep,’ and she knew he meant it. Well, that girl went running through the Rose Garden in high heels, and the president came out in about two seconds.”
While I’m sure the story’s been embellished a bit, it strikes me as quite plausible behavior on the part of Coach Stallings. And Bill Clinton was notoriously late for, well, everything, mostly because he loved schmoozing and it was hard to drag him away from one conversation to move on to the next.