Has Mike Shula visited Alabama in any capacity since being let go?


TideFans Legend
May 9, 2000
East Point, Ga, USA
I fondly remember that game! Had about twenty college friends over watching that. Awesome game!:D
i was in high school and watched that game with my dad and younger brother and we were going nuts on that last drive. it was awesome having that game and the kick to bookend the regular '85 season.

i watched the '94 bama - jawjuh game with a bunch of uga fans (i had just moved to atlanta the year before) and they were glad to get the chance to redeem that game; they were still quite bitter about it. at 25, i didn't yet possess the ability to restrain my drunk ass self from explaining to them in great detail through the first three quarters how we were going to win the game and then rubbing yet another comeback win in their faces.

thankfully, the ensuing years have given me many opportunities to become a bit more refined in my ability to point these things out ti the people i share a state with in a civilized manner .
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Dec 4, 2018
In my not so humble opinion, Shula was Bama in name only. Someone mentioned his one and only return to the Capstone between his days as QB and head coach. That was 1992 and it was mainly a PR kind of thing. A Birmingham market news person got in a quick chat with him on that occasion. I remember seeing it on the sports segment of the local news that night, and I did NOT get a good vibe off of him during that short interview. Fast forward 11 years later in 2003 and I had a sinking feeling when it appeared that the PTB were going with him as HC. There were more candidates than just him. Hiring Shula was a stopgap measure. Replacing a HC is a challenge unto itself. Replacing one in the summer? Forget about it. It was such an insane time at Bama. Had everything not happened just the way it did, meaning had Mr. Price stayed out of trouble, then naturally, Shula would never have been there and it would now be coming up on 30 years since his last trip to the Capstone.
It's not like every player comes back to Tuscaloosa after their career is over.


TideFans Legend
Mar 31, 2000
Four all beef patties, 6 feet under: the McCPR
Since it has come up in a different context, I'm going to hop back on thread for a moment because this is simply how I feel about the two points made recently.

1) Did Mike Shula come back to Alabama between his playing career and coaching?

Who cares?

Gee, one need only look at a Wikipedia page to make some considerations. Shula was a replacement player on the 1987 Tampa Bay team (coached by - Ray Perkins) and then Shula was an assistant coach in the NFL from 1988 to 2002. It's not like NFL coaches have a lot of off time on Saturdays in the fall.

When would he have come by?

And is it not at least POSSIBLE he came by and saw no need to advertise, "Hey, I'm here"?

I'm not saying he doesn't give off the vibe of a jerk, he always kinda did. I'm just not willing to indict the guy for something I'm not sure anyone can prove one way or another beyond his own words. If Mike says, "Yes, I attended the 1988 Iron Bowl on Thanksgiving when my Bucs were playing in Atlanta," would folks believe him or would they then demand witnesses to recall being with him 34 years ago?

2) Mike Shula, the Player, Versus Mike Shula, The Coach

Years ago I made the decision to separate these two memories and hold positive ones of Shula leading the drives that beat Jawja and Aw-bun in 1985, the drive that tied LSU (where he caught the TD pass), and the drive that set up the missed field goal from a long distance against Tennessee. And while he deserves immense credit for those drives, it's not like Shula was AJ or Tua or for that matter even Jalen Hurts. A simple look at his college career stats - even adjusted for the context of their time - shows he was basically a guy back there who was adequate and not terrible, but he was no superstar even with the Crimson glasses on. He was a 54% passer on a team that didn't throw the ball much, certainly didn't throw it deep much, and he threw 35 TDs and 30 INTs. His pass efficiency rating was high because it was a lot of short outs to Bobby Humphrey and Clay Whitehurst.

For his time, he was not a BAD quarterback, but let's not pretend his QB leadership was elevating a 3-8 team to a 9-2-1 team, either. The only category in which he ever led the SEC was interceptions (in 1986).

Everybody remembers the UGA drive after the blocked punt - but nobody remembers that prior that drive Shula was 5 for 9 for 56 yards passing, which would be unacceptable in the real world even of 1985. In the 1985 Iron Bowl, how many of you remember the parts that weren't so good? He threw a bomb deep into the end zone for an interception on first down that set up Auburn's drive to first take the lead (and it was well overthrown, too). At the start of the drive he was 12 of 24 for 159 yards with no TDs and one INT. He ended up 14 for 28 for 195 after throwing one incompletion into triple coverage on the first play - and then threw again into triple coverage and was very fortunate it wasn't picked off with 21 seconds remaining.

Yes - Shula absolutely deserves credit for getting the team in position, and his block that freed Al Bell on the reverse on fourth and 4, well, Alabama doesn't win the game if Shula doesn't execute the block perfectly. If he gets flagged or doesn't block so Bell can get his speed going, the game ends right there.

So I made a decision years ago on Mike Shula, for better or worse. He was a serviceable player whom I rooted for at Alabama during his time as a player and that I also advocated under the circumstances (as I knew them) for the job when Price was fired. I rooted for his success, but I was also disappointed that his stubbornness and refusal to go get an offensive coordinator willing to engage in punch trading and aggressiveness was par for the course during his time here.

The good on Mike is that so far as we know he was never involved in any of the peccadilloes that took down Dubious and Price, and he didn't flee under cover of night like fRan did. He ran a clean program so far as we know, and he gave us a couple of spine-tingling moments as a player. He did not sell out for money like Gene Jelks did, either, so I can at least give him that.

The bad? Mike spent four years in a job that was too big for him. He wasn't the first, and he won't be the last, and this isn't just a college football thing.

And on that note, I'll bow out of discussing a previous head coach more famous for his time as a player here, noting only that I give him credit where due and blame where due - just as I do with anyone and just as is done with me.

But then again...there's a reason I don't watch the old Bama games anymore - because we're making highlight reels every week now, and it's the looking forward to each season and week that feels so good again.