Ex-Bama coach to speak at Clinic Bowl dinner

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 2:06am

Former Alabama football coach Gene Stallings will speak at the annual Clinic Bowl Kickoff Classic dinner Aug. 19 at Montgomery Bell Academy.

Stallings guided the Crimson Tide to the SEC and the Division I National Championship during a 12-0 season in 1992, followed by a resounding win over Miami, Fla. in the Sugar Bowl, the first BCS championship game.

The community dinner, which will feature competing teams MBA and Pearl-Cohn, begins at 6:30 p.m. at the MBA gymnasium. Announcer George Plaster of 104.5 The Zone will be master of ceremonies.

The 59th annual Classic itself is at MBA Saturday, Aug. 22, with a 7 p.m. kickoff.

He coached at Alabama for seven years, starting in 1990 and compiled a 62-25 record before his final season in 1996. He took ‘Bama to a bowl every year except one.

Stallings, 74, also coached Texas A&M, his alma mater, for seven years, as well as the NFL St. Louis Cardinals in during an extensive 38-year coaching career. He played for legendary coach Bear Bryant at A&M in the mid-1950s. He lives in Paris, Texas.

“We’re very excited to have coach Stallings. This is a great way to kick off the high school season,’’ said event coordinator Rick Regen, who has been involved in every Nashville Clinic Bowl endeavor over the last quarter of a century. “Last year, we were able to accommodate just 250 at Harris-Hillman (in the ’08 Kickoff Classic featuring Hillsboro and Franklin) because of space constraints. Our goal this year is 800 to 1,000.

“We would have liked to again have played the game at Vanderbilt, but the stadium isn’t ready yet as it’s being refurbished (Vanderbilt Stadium has been undergoing extensive renovations for the past few months).’’

Regen has been active in pursuit of a Clinic Bowl one-day double-header for the past five years, and is hopeful next season (2010), his dream will come to fruition. “If Vanderbilt is available, and they install field turf, I think we can do it,’’ he said.

Dinner tickets are $25 and the public is invited. For complete information and for reservations, call 322-3422 or click here.

Proceeds from ticket sales go to the Susan Gray School. A silent auction will be held prior to the dinner, beginning at 5 p.m.

MBA’s last appearance in the Classic came in ’05 when the Big Red ran into a buzz saw in Byrnes, S.C., which handed them a 62-14 loss at Vanderbilt.