We love you Coach and we promise we`ll kick Bob Bockrath in the shin if we ever see him.
Gene Stallings: (1990-1996): 26-3 (.897) vs. out of conference teams.
Notable wins: Miami `92 - Ohio State `94 - Michigan `96
Humiliating losses: Louisville `90
Opponents and records:
Bowling Green (1-0)
Louisiana Tech (2-0)
Memphis State (1-0)
North Carolina (1-0)
North Carolina State (2-0)
North Texas (1-0)
Ohio State (1-0)
Penn State (0-1)
Southern Miss (5-1)
SW Louisiana (1-0)
For people of my generation, Gene Stallings is the coach we're looking for the next version of. I obviously recognize the achievements of Coach Bryant and realize that he is the gold standard at the Capstone, but my memories of him are fuzzy at best. I vaguely remember my dad watching the Bear Bryant Show on Sundays when I was really little and I remember the autographed picture my grandmother kept of him in her den. I also remember a hand-me-down t-shirt commemorating his 315th win I got from my older brother. I don't remember any specific games he coached though.
I have vivid memories of Coach Stallings' tenure though. He was the coach when I was becoming a rabid fan. I went to my first game as a youngster during the Perkins era and have some memories from the Curry era, but the Stallings years were when my fandom became firmly cemented (and not just because we were winning, though I`m sure that helped.)
Onto the games...
Stallings only lost three out of conference games in seven years, all of them in 1990.
The one we remember above all others is laying the smack down on Miami to win the `92 championship. Their fans are still moaning and groaning about that one. I was at the Alabama vs. Florida basketball game in Gainesville in early 2005 and wound up sitting next to some Miami fan that talked nearly the entire game about how Alabama "got lucky."
Sweet, sweet victory
The win over Ohio State was another great one. My dad was on a business trip in Florida and managed to get tickets to that game. He said even with time winding down and Alabama trailing that he never had any inclination that we'd lose the game. Jay Barker won football games. It was just that simple. They still play that game on ESPN Classic from time to time. I've seen it twice so hopefully they'll play it again this summer.
Obviously you never want to lose to Southern Miss, but the only out of conference game from Stallings' time that really left a bad taste in my mouth was the beat down we received at the hands of Louisville. 34-7? I don't think anybody saw that coming. I was at a Louisville game a few years ago and sat next to what is surely their most obnoxious fan. Since USF was beating them senseless, he must've figured the only thing that would salvage his outing was reminding me every five minutes about the final score of a bowl game from 1990.
On the road
Travel really started to wane during the Stallings era, but they were still making trips to places that are unthinkable these days. Can you imagine a road game in Lafayette or Memphis anytime soon? Outside of those two games (against SW Louisiana and Memphis State respectively), the only other trips the Tide made were to Raleigh to play NC State and New Orleans to play Tulane.
Bama vs. Miami `92