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Tide divided

Some alumni unhappy about extended DuBose deal

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Posted: Thursday December 30, 1999 04:51 PM

 

MIAMI (AP) - University of Alabama President Andrew Sorensen said Crimson Tide supporters have "very divided opinions about the appropriateness" of his decision to extend head football coach Mike DuBose's contract by two years.

DuBose signed a revised contract Wednesday that lasts through Jan. 31, 2004, while meeting with Sorensen and Athletic Director Mal Moore in Miami Beach. The team is preparing for Saturday night's Orange Bowl game against Michigan.

The university's Aug. 4 decision to deduct $360,000 from DuBose's salary will stand. The university has been taking out monthly installments of $12,000 from DuBose's annual package of more than $500,000 to cover the cost of a sexual harassment claim against him by a former university employee.

DuBose's compensation remains the same with one possible exception. He would be awarded a $25,000 bonus if he is selected as the Paul W. Bryant National Coach of the Year, for which he is a finalist.

Despite Alabama's 10-2 record, Southeastern Conference championship and berth in the Bowl Championship Series, Sorensen said he has felt some pressure about reworking the contract.

"Of course, a considerable amount," Sorensen said. "You know, there are a lot of situations when you're the president of a university that a decision you make is praised by many people and criticized by many people. This is one of several such decisions.

"I believe Coach DuBose has performed admirably both on the field and off the field. And I believe the extension is warranted." Some Alabama supporters who originally called for DuBose's firing said they are not surprised by the university's handling of the coach.

"The win-loss record should have nothing to do with Mike DuBose's status," said Marshall Boone, a graduate of the Alabama School of Medicine who has sent two children to the university and is a member of Tide Pride. "I think he should have been fired. I'm glad the team won, but I don't see how it changed what he did."

Lee Baker, the outgoing president of the Nashville-Mid-Tennessee alumni chapter, said he was happy that the university didn't try to completely gloss over the situation.

"As far as the contract goes," Baker said, "I think that was kind of a setup by the administration i.e., Bob Bockrath. If you give him the two years back, I don't have a problem with that. You can't punish him now when you didn't punish him four months ago."

DuBose, who has a 21-14 record since taking over as head coach in 1997, said he did not make the salary deduction a great issue in recent negotiations: "Obviously, you always want to make a little more, but (getting any money back) has never really been questioned," he said. "It's not something we talked about a lot."

Following the harassment claim, DuBose admitted that he lied in May when publicly denying an "improper relationship" with the woman.

The ensuing agreement with Sorensen included a reduction in DuBose's contract from five years to three, plus a freeze on extra compensation. It also made it possible to fire him for "failing to respond promptly and accurately to university requests of job performance or rules violations," and for "any act that leads to public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule."

After it happened, Moore -- then an associate athletic director -- said he told DuBose then that "the biggest job that lay ahead of him was holding together the staff and team so they could focus on what has to be done. And his concerns couldn't really go elsewhere. It had to be right there.

"And he did exactly that."

Moore, who was named athletic director on Nov. 23 following the firing of Bob Bockrath, said several times Wednesday that the extension should give DuBose's assistant coaches greater peace of mind.

"The thing Mike and I talked about early was that his part of the (August) agreement would stand," Moore said, "and then we would do what we felt would be best for the program and for the assistant coaches -- and, too, for Mike."

Sorensen arrived in Miami on Tuesday night after the university's Board of Trustees Compensation Committee acted on his recommendation and unanimously approved the contract extension earlier in the day.

DuBose said he doesn't feel a sense of relief, despite the finality of Wednesday's signing.

"There really isn't," DuBose said, "because as far as I'm concerned it's been done a long time. And I've had a peace about that."


 
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