Gene Stalling's Therapy: Why 'Bama Will Win the BCS Championship

Larry SnarkvilleAnalyst IDecember 14, 2009

1 Jan 1997:  Coach Gene Stallings of the Alabama Crimson Tide watches his players during the Outback Bowl at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  Alabama won the game 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Squire  /Allsport
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

"How you feelin?" I asked a friend of 25 years on the night before the SEC Championship Game.

"Nervous, Mike. But I got nervous before the Vandy game. But you know what? I love the 'Bama fans," he replied. "They're knowledgeable. They're passionate about their team. It matters to them. They're good people."

Spoken to me by a fellow Florida Gator.

Turning to the large black binder that sits on the desk of my classroom, I thought about a letter inside of it—a letter I received many years ago by former Alabama head football coach Gene Stallings.

I still have it. And I always will.

I asked Stallings what he thought the most important aspects of teaching and coaching were.

His response was written in this letter.

"Encourage your students to develop good friends and associate with good people."

Seems that Coach Stallings had gotten to both of us.