Gene Stallings: ‘You can’t believe how excited I am just to be here’

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — There was no discussion of whether or not Gene Stallings would stick to his commitments. The legendary coach wasn’t going to go back on his word.

Like he did at Texas A&M last week, Stallings planned to keep him promise to make appearance for his former teams.

Just two weeks after suffering a heart attack, Stallings arrived in Tuscaloosa to celebrate the 25-year anniversary of Alabama’s 1992 national championship team.

“You can’t believe how excited I am just to be here,” Stallings said Friday night.

Stallings has shown a true warrior mentality despite his health issues. He spoke with reporters briefly before a private ceremony for the team at the Bryant Museum.

In a Q&A with SEC Country, Jay Barker, who was a sophomore quarterback for the 1992 title team, described what Stallings meant to him and the team.

“He was like a father figure to all of us. He was tough on us when he needed to be tough, and he also showed a lot of compassion when he needed to. He was tougher on some of us than others. Coach Stallings and I had a great father-son relationship. We could be joking around, and the next minute, with our Type A personalities, we could be right in each other’s faces. I kind of felt like this was my team. At times he would be critical in practice, and I’d go to his office and say, “Look, you can’t do that in front of the team. You and I can talk about this afterwards, but this is my team.” But it was a great relationship. I think the combination of us with that team and all of the competitors is why we were so successful. The thing I loved about Coach Stallings, and I still do, is, say we were in a team meeting for 30 minutes, he probably spent 25 minutes on life and five on the game and schemes. He wanted to tell stories about what was happening in his life or his family’s life with his kids. He talked about things from the past that he learned from whether it be from coaches or people. Those are the things we all carry with us and share with our kids. Those things helped shape us into the husbands and fathers that we are. I think a lot of those guys would say that. It created a close relationship with us all.”

Watch Stallings’ full interview below.

The post Gene Stallings: ‘You can’t believe how excited I am just to be here’ appeared first on SEC Country.

Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.