Someone asked about some Bama history a few days ago – Chapter 3 "Sorensen and Bockrath" and Chapter 4 "The Downward Spiral"

Someone asked about some Bama history a few days ago – Chapter 3 "Sorensen and Bockrath" and Chapter 4 "The Downward Spiral"

This is a brief on how Alabama fell from grace in the general timeframe of the 1992 Championship thru Coach Fran with some earlier history thrown in for reference. It sheds light (true or false – that is up to the individual) on what happened to bring down the Tide and who all was involved. It definitely helps explain the animosity toward Phil Fulmer. I didn’t write any of the brief and don’t personally know anyone mentioned or attributed. I am not responsible for any typo, spelling, formatting, or whitespace errors. Nor am I responsible for any judgment errors, innuendo, false allegations, heresy, rumor mongering, slander, defamation, or character assassination. I just happened to cut and paste it from a Bama message forum (and I don’t remember which one) way back in the day and thought I might want hang on to it. I am only responsible for segmenting the document into chapters to make it easier to re-post as several RBR Fanpost. As with all Fanpost the content is not approved, condoned, sponsored, attributed, or verified by RBR or SBN and any of their writers, editors, or content providers. Buckle up this is a very long read. – WM58

Posted by clay3482 on February 27, 2004 at 20:59:25:

The Fall Of the Tide


This is only a compilation of public information put in one place so that the truth could come finally out. Some source articles came from MAJOR news outlets and some from Internet Message Board Archives. I will try to credit everyone at the end of the "brief" in Appendix A. This is a rough draft however, so if you see something I missed or in the case of internet posters if you would like your Real Name instead of your Internet Handle credited please let me know.

Thanks to all who have helped!

Roll Tide Forever!

Enjoy The Brief


Sorensen & Bockrath

Chapter 3

Before I go any farther let me re-state that Whatever Alabama Athletic Director Hootie Ingram faults are, his and Dr. Sayers departures were the genesis of every ill fated circumstance and disaster that has followed. Enter New University President Andrew Sorensen. Andrew Sorensen never had any fundamental grasp of the interplay between the health of the football program and the University as a whole. But one thing he did want, was to bring the athletic department under his thumb. And that he did. The first act was in hiring Bob Bockrath as Athletic Director.

But, before the final decision on Bockrath was made, Head Football Coach Gene Stallings called Sorensen to put his two cents in on who the Next Athletic Director should be. He had yet to be consulted up to this point. Stallings suggested that Mal Moore be given a chance and that he had heard some disturbing things about Bockrath from Texas people. Furthermore, as the head coach, he would be comfortable working with Mal. Sorensen thanked him for his call and said he'd consider it. Stallings thought Mal was going to get another interview. Instead, he got a call five minutes later from Sorensen saying he wasn't getting the job.

Stallings decided to quit then and there. He decided that he couldn't work for a man like Sorensen. So forget all this garbage about Bockrath running him off after the Miss. St. game, Stallings retirement was dictated by that day's events (Bockrath's hire) and ANDREW SORENSEN.

With Stallings immanent departure (not yet known), Bockrath promptly went to work in the athletic department isolating those people he thought were connected to the "good ole boys." He used a number of snitches and rats, most of whom are still there, to spy on people and then feed the dirt back to he and Sorensen. But most of all, he simply retreated into his office feeling spurned by the Alabama community. I remember attending an event at the Museum shortly after he was hired and in a room of 200 people, he was standing in a corner by himself talking to no one. The guy never made much of an effort. He walked in from day one smelling a stink and never got that stench out of his nose.

When it came time to hire a new Head football coach, Bockrath and Sorensen wanted to get a non-Bryant connected coach. We all know about Beamer. Frankly, had they gotten their way, things could have been much worse than they are now. But, under pressure not to wreck a good thing and get a dedicated Alabama recruiter in there, Bockrath caved and hired Mike Dubose. This was not to be the last case of the fans running the program. It was a problem to be further and further exposed over the next four years. Having a weak sister like Bockrath as Athletic Director without the authority or fortitude to lead - for better or worse - only further exacerbated the problem.

Mike Dubose's problems as coach have been dissected to the hilt - but I think can they be summarized by saying he was in over his head. He was neither a leader, an organizer, a tactician, nor a man of good judgment. In becoming head coach he simply out kicked his own punt coverage. Mike's lack of success his first season was promptly blamed on Stallings' holdovers, probation and poor recruiting. And for all of Mike's failures, he knew how to spin some yarn with the faithful and get folks to buy his excuses. It's worth noting that Stallings believed he could have won seven or eight games with the 97 team. I have no reason to doubt him.

A further aside on Mike's character is that he did far more agitating against Coach Stallings than Bill Oliver ever did. A fact lost on many fans to this day. And on Mike's staff, the backbiting and infighting among the coaches - in the absence of a leader - would only become more cancerous than on Stallings staff.

Like every coach who is over his head, Mike pushed the panic button after his first season and decided that recruiting was everything. He convinced himself that the state of Alabama didn't have enough quality athletes to support his program and that we had to pass over a bunch of good kids to get the "best." Thus started the exodus of a number of kids who grew up loving Alabama, had NFL talent, and were left crying by Mike's recruiting decisions.

Enter Ronnie Cottrell. I'm not going to say much about Ronnie. Ronnie has had enough accusations as an evaluator of talent and of his close relationship to Logan and some other boosters to last a lifetime. However due to a lack of talent, coaching, leadership or maybe a little of all what we ended up with as a result of our staff's efforts was a vast number of kids who were here for the wrong reasons, had poor character and work habits, were misplaced track stars or simply over hyped to start with, and didn't give a rats behind about Alabama. In the end they quit on us, Fran, and Alabama. Period.

The Downward Spiral

Chapter 4

UT coach, Phil Fulmer had a hatred of Alabama going back to his playing days at UT. After watching what happened to Bill Battle, Fulmer knew that keeping his job

was based on beating Alabama on a regular basis, which he finally managed for

the first time against a Alabama team on probation in 1995. Keeping Alabama in a

weakened state seemed the easiest way to get a leg up on the Tide, but Fulmer

knew Alabama wasn't going to suffer from scholarship limitations forever, unless

something could be done to get them back into the sights of the NCAA Infractions

Committee. It was at this time that Fulmer began laying the plans to take down the Tide again if it became necessary.

As it turns out Fulmer had his own problems to deal with first however. In 96 a female trainer in the athletic department name Naughright filed a complaint in court with numerous claims of sexual harassment against UT coaches and Players. This became known as the "Manning mooning" incident. At first Typical of the UT Spin machine they tried to paint her as a vindictive employee out to get the University etc. However when she showed up with over 30 tapes that according to the Paul Finebaum Radio Show have proof of the harassment, drug test fixing, paying players, grade fixing, and Fulmer giving one player a list with 5 names of Boosters on it to go to for money. She reportedly received a $300,000 settlement from the university in 1997 Very Quickly OUT of Court, and had to turn over the tapes where they sit right now to this day in Knoxville, TN. Inside a safe at a lawyers office slated to be destroyed in May of 2005. After The book Border Wars was published, that from all accounts used TennStud as a main source, She served UT in Gainesville, Florida a second time right before UT was scheduled to play Florida at the "Swamp." Tennessee, lost the game by the way. The 2nd suit was reportedly settled for seven figures!

Now This was not Fulmer's only headache he had in 96, Academic professor Linda Bensel-Myers was starting to grumble about how awful she was being treated along with the tutors set up for the "special needs" athletes in the athletic department. It gets so bad that one of her assistants Mrs. Wright sends a letter on Jan. 6, 1999 to Fulmer and explains why she has resigned to take a job as Director of the Academic Assistance and Resource Center at Stephen F. Austin State University. She cites the higher salary in her new job, and says she was frustrated with the "lack of respect" she got in the UT athletic department. She says she was "prevented from developing the top-notch academic program that I am capable of creating here." She even places the letter on Fulmer's desk, to ensure delivery.

But all of this does not stop Phil. The first part of his plan went somewhat unnoticed in early 1998. Fulmer learned of Woody McCorvey's grudge against Alabama in general and against Mike DuBose in particular after Mike DuBose first beat out McCorvey for the head coaching job at Alabama and then summarily fired him from his staff after the disastrous 1997 football season. Knowing that McCorvey might be itching for revenge and finding his intimate knowledge of the Tide football program a useful fringe benefit, Fulmer hired McCorvey to coach wide receivers.

Fulmer launched the second part of his plan around the same time. With DuBose's hiring of FSU Recruiting Coordinator, Ronnie Cottrell, Alabama had a top-notch recruiting machine for the first time since the Ray Perkins era. Cottrell immediately made his presence felt with the 1998 signing class, which was widely regarded as the best Alabama had signed in nearly a decade. With a program built on running a wide net for recruits, Cottrell's success immediately caught Fulmer's attention, and his worry over a potential return to greatness by Alabama became a full-blown obsession.

Around this time "operation Rogue Booster" is put into operation by ITAT members. This is observed on Auburn and Tennessee internet message boards. It should be noted that Tee Martin The UT Quarter Back also accepted $4,500 and a car form Wayne Rowe around this time as well. Now Luckily for Fulmer and the ITAT members, he had a useful stooge practically under his nose. Fulmer turned to longtime Tennessee rogue booster and all-around disgusting human being, "Tennstud" due to Tennstud's longtime association with high-profile Alabama booster, Logan Young. Fulmer knew of the hatred that had erupted between the two men after their falling out a couple of years previous, and Fulmer knew he could use Tennstud's desire for revenge against Young to his advantage. Fulmer used the "TennStud" to start numerous internet rumors that Young was paying players to go to Alabama. These rumors appeared as early as signing day 1998, when Alabama landed star DL, Kindall Moorehead out of Memphis-Melrose, but they really began to take on a life of their own, fueled by Tennstud, with David Paine's recruitment in 1998 and the Albert Means recruitment in 1999. This was the setup for what was to come, as the seeds were planted by Tennstud that Young and Alabama were crooked and buying players in Memphis and that this rogue attitude permeated the entire program and was the sole reason for Alabama's newfound recruiting success. With as many enemies as a successful program like Alabama has made over the decades, Fulmer and Tennstud had little trouble finding willing ears and minds to absorb their stories and to accept them as fact.

In the meantime, the situation with Athletic Director Bob Bockrath was further eroding. A number of folks had come to the conclusion that a lack of leadership from Andrew Sorensen was going to be the wreck and ruin of our program. It was said University President Andrew Sorensen, was fundamentally unaware of what other programs in the SEC were going to do to us if we sat back and stuck our heads in the sand. When the athletic department was banned from raising money or engaging in capital expenditures and delaying the stadium expansion only further added to this perception. Furthermore, the rumblings had started up North about "Alabama cheats." Fulmer had threatened Tim Thompson at Melrose point blank about sending players to Alabama during the 98 recruiting season and having a spurned Woody McCorvey in Knoxville wasn't going to help anything.

Yet Alabama limped through the 98 season with the perception that things were turning around. In reality they were getting more rotten. The Music City Bowl only further exposed Mike's limited ability but everyone wrote it off as a learning experience. During this period there was a good bit of grumbling about how the BOT didn't understand what was going on and that Sorensen was destroying us slowly.

At that point, morale in the Athletic Department was at rock bottom under Bockrath's hand. The cancer from the void of leadership was beginning to grow into a full fledged tumor. No effort was being made to modernize the department in personnel or modern management techniques - much less the future of the Alabama facilities.

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