Andrews the right man for Alabama
Dec. 1, 2000
First it was Frank Beamer, then Butch Davis and Tommy Bowden. Jackie Sherrill even got a mention.
None of them were interested in being Alabama's new head coach.
Now a new round of names have surfaced. How about Texas Christian's Dennis Franchione or Pitt's Walt Harris?
While those names are interesting, Mickey Andrews might be the most interesting.
Andrews is the defensive coordinator at Florida State and the architect of one of the nation's best defenses in the last decade.
Andrews has openly campaigned for the job and has even gotten the endorsement of his boss, Bobby Bowden.
But there is a problem, Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore has said he doesn't want to hire an assistant coach. Like one knowledgeable person told me, if the last guy you hired was an assistant and he didn't work out, then you do the exact opposite this time.
I'm sure Franchione and Harris are fine coaches but I think Andrews might be the right man for the job and here's why.
Moore said he wanted a proven Division I-A head coach. While Andrews might not be a proven Division I coach, he is a proven commodity.
Just how good is Andrews? Andrews owns more national championship rings than most people do cars.
He won the NAIA national championship as head coach of then-Livingston University. Considering what has occurred in the almost 30 season since then, that's enough for me.
But the real story is what Andrews has done at Florida State. In 17 years there, the Seminoles have won 175 games and two national championships.
Andrews is also an Alabama guy, playing for Bear Bryant from 1961-1964.
I don't think it gets any better than that.
Locally, Andrews has plenty of support.
"I'm an Auburn guy but I highly endorse Mickey Andrews," West Alabama athletic director Dee Outlaw said. "For what it's worth, I think he will win. I think he will unite the division on the team and the division among the alumni."
Outgoing UWA head coach Bobby Johns is also giving Andrews high marks. Johns was an All-American cornerback at Alabama and coached with Andrews at Florida State.
"He has earned a shot," Johns said. "I think he is responsible for a lot of their success. He brought a hard-nosedness to the program."
Although it has been almost 30 years since that national title at Livingston, one man remembers it clearly.
Jim King recalls his days as offensive coordinator for Andrews and that national championship run. He remembers the intense, physical practices, especially the ones after losses.
Like the others, King thinks Andrews would be the perfect choice.
"He is the best football coach I've ever been around," King said. "He can relate to the Alabama people and at the same time he can relate to today's athletes. He's an Alabama guy and a guy that can recruit Alabama players. He's just a great football coach."
At this point in time, Alabama may be the worst coaching job in America with its high expectations and looming NCAA probation. But here's a guy ready to turn Alabama football around. I honestly don't think there are but a few guys who can do the job and Mickey Andrews is at the top of that list.
Robbie Robertson is sports editor for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.