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NEW TRICKS FOR AN OLD BEAR
John Underwood
September 11, 1972
With more bowl teams and national titles than most coaches have years, Alabama's Bryant should be ready to retire. RETIRE? Why, he's Just learning what the game is all about
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September 11, 1972

New Tricks For An Old Bear

With more bowl teams and national titles than most coaches have years, Alabama's Bryant should be ready to retire. RETIRE? Why, he's Just learning what the game is all about

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"You have to have football players to win. They come in all colors."

What if your black players came to you and wanted a black coach, and a black studies program, a black this and that?

"I'd listen to 'em. I don't say what I'd do but I'd listen. Right now I'm looking for a good coach of any description, but I hope I find a good black one. I'm going to have eight or 10 black players. I would like to have a black coach who could blend into our system."

Black coaches for black players?

"No, I don't mean that. I think I can coach a kid as good as anybody, black, white or green. But I want the best coaches we can find, and if he happens to be black, I want him. Not just in football, in all areas. Ticket takers, secretaries. We can't be stupid about this thing. If they're good, we'd like to have 'em, and it will make everybody happy."

We're living in a sophisticated time, as you say; more worldly-wise and knowledgeable all around. In that context, is football itself as important as it used to be?

"More important than ever. What else have we got to tie to? Where else can you walk out there even, same everything, even, and compete? I think it's 10 times more important. Let me ask you this. Have you taught your children to work? To sacrifice? Have you taught 'em self-discipline? Hell, no. They don't get it in the home, they don't get it in the school house, they don't get it in the church. Not anymore. I guarantee you this. You send your boy to Fran Curci at Miami—I use him as an example because he's right up the road here—and he'll teach him those things. Check up. Look around. Maybe the football field's the only place left."

We're losing it everywhere else?

"We've already lost it."

Why football, particularly? Why a sport in which only a relative few can participate, and then not for long? Why should football carry so great a burden?

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