In a 10 am press conference on Monday in the Naylor Stone Media Suite of the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility, Brad Bohannon was introduced as the 32nd baseball coach in the storied history of Alabama Baseball. Bohannon takes over for Greg Goff who was dismissed after 11 months on the job.
Chris Stewart acted as host for the event that was attended by current players that are in town, members of the Athletic Department, including Avery Johnson and Kristy Curry, family and friends of Bohannon, plus donors and supporters of the baseball program. Stewart introduced Athletics Director Greg Byrne, who spoke of the hiring process and then brought Bohannon to the podium.
Byrne mentioned reaching out to people like Jim Wells, Bobby Sprowl, Dave Magadan, Alan Dunn and Jeff Laubenthal as he went through the hiring process. Last Monday, Bohannon came to Tuscaloosa for what Byrne expected to be about an hour “get to know you” meeting. Three and one-half hours later Bohannon left, basically impressing Byrne enough to quickly move to the top of the opening’s wish list.
With other openings in the SEC and around the south, Bohannon was a hot commodity and Byrne chose not to take the chance of losing him to someone like Tennessee by announcing the hire on Thursday. With Auburn playing in the NCAA Tournament in Tallahassee, the timing was a little tricky, but things were able to be worked out. Bohannon stayed with the Tigers who won their first two games to make the regional finals. On Sunday night, they played a late game with Florida State, which AU lost in 10 innings, setting up a winner take all game on Monday night. Therefore, Bohannon flew in to Tuscaloosa on the University plane, arriving around 1 a.m. for the 10 a.m. press conference. The new Tide skipper met with the current players that are in town early in the morning before meeting the press for the official announcement.
Bohannon looked sharp in a dark suite and crimson Alabama tie, after he donned orange and blue just a few hours earlier. After being introduced by Byrne, Bohannon quickly won the crowd over by saying “I’ve waited all weekend to say this, so Roll Tide baby, Roll Tide!” He then went into thanking his wife, Kim, and his family as well as Byrne, University President Stuart Bell, President of the Board of Trustees, Karen Brooks, and board member, Judge John England.
Bohannon noted that he wanted to make the University of Alabama “the best place to play college baseball in the country.” He is known nationally as an ace recruiter, and at Kentucky and Auburn signed players from 25 states and Canada. He went on to mention that he would love to have a team full of Alabama guys, but that Alabama is a national brand, and he aims to take advantage of that. Bohannon said that he will mold his team to the talent that he has, instead of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. The first time head man said “I love the three run homeruns, but you also need to be able to score at times without getting a hit. It is hard to string five hits together in the SEC, especially on a Friday night against a future big leaguer.” “We will play to our players strengths.”
After Bohannon’s remarks the floor was opened up to the media for questions. When asked what makes him such a good recruiter, Bohannon responded, “I think you would have to ask my players that I have recruited that played for me, but you have to look at the young man, get to know him, like him and show him that you care about him.” “You can do this job and be nice to people and let them know you care about them.”
Bohannon was asked about his staff configuration and he said that he would address that soon after arriving full time in Tuscaloosa. He also said that it is important to hire coaches that are good recruiters and good coaches, and Alabama has the tradition and resources to get both.
After fielding all the questions flawlessly, the coach moved on to a reception in the Crimson Tide Suite where everyone was able to meet the coach and his family. At one point, Byrne whisked Bohannon off to meet with coach Nick Saban in his office. Bohannon mentioned afterwards that Saban was very gracious and offered his help in any way that he could. The two bonded over their mutual love of recruiting and development of players. When he returned Bohannon joked, “OK guys, I got your red zone offense straightened out with coach Saban.”
Byrne’s wife, Regina, then took Kim Bohannon off to lunch to meet with Miss Terry. Kim Bohannon told me Miss Terry called her immediately after the announcement of the hire last week and was “just wonderful.”
It has been a while since there have been as many smiles around the Alabama baseball facility as there was today. Players, boosters, and athletic department employees alike couldn't hold back their joy with the hire.
Bohannon has a daunting task to sort out the roster mess he has been left with, and there will be some tough decisions to make with several players. After the MLB draft next week, the numbers should be a little more manageable, but the numbers will still have to be dealt with. Bohannon seems to be the right guy at the right time and he is so thrilled to be in Tuscaloosa. He is bright, capable, and well respected in the college baseball world. I am very confident that the right choice was made, and I very much look forward to future of Alabama baseball.
Bama Baseball Fever, Now we can all catch it! The future is so bright we all need sunglasses.