Well, the truth was I didn't want to go back to Alabama, never intended to. I could have gone back two or three times, and I refused. But they kept reminding me what Alabama had done for me, and how I was the only one who could bring Alabama football back to where it once was, which wasn't true, but it sure got to me. Every day I was getting a sackful of letters, hundreds of them from grade-school kids telling me they'd want to play for me if I came back. Well, heck, I just couldn't refuse.
Some people said I got $50,000 raised by the alumni as an outright gift to come back, but that's not true. I was offered $250,000 over a five-year period from an alumnus who is a good friend of mine, but I wouldn't accept it. I put everything I could think of in my contract to help the program, and I'm an old hand at writing contracts, but the only material things I asked for were the same salary the deans were making and permission to make my own television deal. I did get them to get me a house to live in, which I'm still in and which the university owns.
The worst thing, though, was going in there and telling my boys at A&M. I hadn't had to do that at Kentucky, because they were away on vacation. I went in there with those Aggies and I tried to talk. I got to crying, and it got to be like a Holy Roller meeting, everybody crying, old John Crow and everybody. But I'll never forget that look on Mary Harmon's face when we drove down University Avenue into Tuscaloosa. She was in hog's heaven. I wished then I'd gone back years before.