Since the hiring of Nick Saban, it seems a lot has transpired. Recently, I’ve been wondering who really played the biggest roles in removing Mike Shula as coach, leading to the hiring of Nick Saban. Today, I will provide you with my not so professional list of the people who played the biggest roles in Shula’s demise in countdown form. I do this to take up some time until football season starts. Here we go:
5. Juwan Simpson– While the Simpson situation could’ve been a strong moment for Mike Shula, it turned out being one of his worst. Allowing Juwan to play after being pulled over with a gun and marijuana in his possesion, Mike Shula left Simpson in suspension limbo for over a month. Allowing Simpson to make that infamous ice cream comment frustrated certain Bama fans so much that they could hardly contain themselves. When Simpson played against Hawaii, the final pieces of the puzzle regarding Shula’s departure were beginning to fall into place. Mike Shula attempted to rectify the situation by keeping Simpson from playing later in the season, but it was too late.
4. Tyrone Prothro– Had Tyrone been able to stay healthy, you have to wonder how many close games Alabama could’ve won under Mike Shula. He was the SEC’s best answer to Reggie Bush. Without Prothro, the Alabama offense looked down right embarrassing at times, even with record setting players (Croyle, Hall, & Darby). Opposing defenses did not have to worry about the threat of #4, allowing them to knock around Brodie Croyle and John Parker Wilson like a rag dolls.
3. Tommy Tuberville– Yes, we have to give the Auburn coach credit somehow. For me, the biggest blow from Tuberville wasn’t running around with 4 to 5 fingers, or winning 5 in a row. It was that 2005 Iron Bowl where Auburn completely buried Alabama. That game exposed Mike Shula’s Alabama program worse than any other game during his 4 year span. Mix that with an off season of thumbs and you have yourself a perturbed fan base.
2. Paul Finebaum– He is an influential man in the SEC, and this is just another example of him flexing his muscles. After the Juwan “I like vanilla” Simpson debacle, Finebaum started a long tactical assault on Mike Shula. Of course, it never hurt Finebaum’s argument when Shula and Alabama suffered embarrassment after embarrassment during the 2006 season. The PFRN reaches across the entire state (and parts of the souteast), allowing many Bama fans to engage in an open debate about Mike Shula.
1. Mike Shula– As Nathaniel Branden once said, “The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” Had Shula been willing to just fire one assistant coach, I imagine he would still be here for at least one more year. But, he refused to change his ways and was let go. Many fans remember the horrors of the offensive play calling, his coaching staff, the Simpson saga, 0-4 against Auburn, and that dreadful jumbo package. He also allowed two of his better players to be injured because they stayed in too long during blowouts. He may have lost the majority of the fans after the MSU loss, but there were those who could see problems long before that dreadful day. So, he was fired, and Saban was hired.