Which Tide coach of three joins the Tide's five worst?
There are three choices. Two of them are the coaches who followed Paul Bryant. Bryant's successor was Ray Perkins, a former Alabama star and respected NFL head coach. The Bryant succession was a more difficult transition than the current Nick Saban succession. Bama was down before Bryant retired and Perkins did not inherit a roster comparable to what Kalen DeBoer is getting. Perkins had a four-season, 32-15-1 record before he decided to return to the NFL.
Bill Curry followed Perkins. As the Georgia Tech head coach, Curry had been on a list of replacements Bryant compiled, with the asterisk of being not quite ready yet, but would be down the road. Alabama was 26-10 in Curry's three seasons. There were many Alabama fans that never accepted Curry. He decided correctly the environment was not right for him.
The third of the trio for possible inclusion in this five-worst list is Mike Price. Mike Price never coached a game for the Crimson Tide. He was hired from Washington State after Franchione bolted. Price made it through one spring practice. A few weeks later Price was fired over alleged misuse of University funds at a Florida strip club. Having to fire Price in May left the Crimson Tide in a precarious situation. That earns him the fourth spot in this five-worst list.
Mike Shula 2003 - 2006
Alabama was desperate and Mike Shula heeded 'Mama's call.' He was not ready to be a head coach at Alabama, and he possibly knew that. But the former Crimson Tide QB is to be praised for what he tried to do.
Alabama was 26-23 in Mike Shula's four seasons. In the last game of his fourth season, Alabama led by assistant coach Joe Kines, lost the Independence Bowl to finish the 2006 season at 6-7. A week later, Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa.
There is a shade of irony in this five-worst story. Three of the five coaches, Dubose, Franchione, and Shula each had one 10-win season leading the Crimson Tide.
For those in the college football world hoping one day Kalen DeBoer will be added to a 'Worst Bama Coaches' list - my advice is if you must hold on to such a negative thought, don't hold your breath.