Thursday, April 28, 2011

John Heisman's Bulletin Board Material

In 1922, Alabama head coach Xen Scott took his team on a trip north to Philadelphia to play the University of Pennsylvania on historic Franklin Field.

Heisman at Penn
The coach of the Quakers that season was none other than John Heisman who had landed at Penn after a divorce settlement forced him to leave Georgia Tech (the couple agreed to not live in the same city and his former wife chose to stay in Atlanta).

Penn was viewed as a power that season after trouncing Navy and the Quakers were undefeated heading into the Nov. 4 contest with the Crimson Tide. Heisman went so far as to tell a local newspaper that he didn't want to embarrass Alabama so he planned to pull his starters after "a 25 or 30 point lead."

That quip, according to Bernie Perry, the Crimson Tide's manager that year,  prompted a mad scramble by the Alabama staff.

"[Athletic Director Charles] Bernier and I bought up all the available papers and he saw that every boy had a copy," he told the Birmingham Post-Herald in a 1959 story about the game.

The Crimson Tide beat the Quakers 9-7.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The 1935 Rose Bowl Champions

Alabama's 29-13 victory over Stanford on Jan. 1, 1935 brought out large
crowds to greet the team when they returned from the West Coast.

Monday, April 25, 2011

William Bradford Huie's "How To Keep Football Stars in College"

On Jan. 4, 1941 William Bradford Huie's first story in a major magazine was published and it immediately set off a firestorm of criticism. The University of Alabama graduate's piece in Collier's: The National Weekly magazine, "How to Keep Football Stars in College," accused the Crimson Tide football program of a litany of abuses.

Using a lively and colorful manner that became his hallmark, Huie alleged Alabama engaged in a regular practice of paying players,  used local high schools to process ineligible players from out-of-state and a relentless purging of players who were unable to perform on the football field. Huie even claimed to have been hired by the school as a tutor charged with keeping academically inept athletes qualified scholastically so they could play.

"I guess I'm trying to kid myself into believing there is more good than bad in the collegiate football system," he wrote.

A university faculty committee issued an exhaustive report a month later finding all the accusations in the article baseless. Three months later, Collier's retracted the story and offered apology to the school for publishing it:

Huie would go onto a long and distinguished career as a muckraking journalist, screenwriter and author, including numerous groundbreaking works on the civil rights movement. He was inducted into the University of Alabama's College of Communication and Information Sciences Hall of Fame in 1998.