There is a report that former Alabama defensive Joe Kines is a candidate for that same role in College Station. While he hasn’t been visible, at least publicly, for the last year, it makes me sleep a little better knowing that he is in Tuscaloosa. Coach Kines was a good coach and an even better man. I say that because I met him, twice.

The first time was when he addressed a small meeting that I attended that was held at the stadium. This was right after he had come to Tuscaloosa with Mike Price and was about a month before that whole scandal broke. His opening remarks were something like, “Y’all are all evidently pretty smart so I’m not really sure why you wanted to hear from a dumb ol’ football coach.”

The second and far more memorable time was during fall camp prior to Shula’s second season. The company that I worked for at the time was doing work around the football complex as a small part of the overall expansion/renovation going on at that time. I was reviewing the location of a camera tower and was very concerned about its location being too close to a practice field. I was kneeling down in a hole that had been excavated for the foundation of the tower thinking about the problem and considering the fact that I would feel serious personal regret if a receiver went deep for a pass, drifted out of bounds and collided with the steel structure, thus ending his season and the teams chances for a conference title. Anyway, as the coaches and player began drifting on the field for the start of practice I looked back over my shoulder and saw Kines standing quietly looking down at me in the big hole.

I took the opportunity to voice my concern and said, “Coach, do you think this tower is too close to the field? I’m worried someone is going to get hurt running into it.”

Without even thinking he replied, “I hope we’re paying you to make decisions like that. I’m here to coach the defense.” Without another word he walked away.

He knew what he was there to do and he instilled a confidence doing it. I have known a few players that played under him  as well and they all spoke about him with a certain reverence. Maybe the type of reverence one has for a crazy old grandfather but a reverence all the same.

Whatever he chooses, I hope it makes him happy.

Best of luck Coach Kines.

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