The past is a roadmap at UA

I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.
Patrick Henry, speech to the Virginia, Convention March 23, 1775

When I was in high school, I read Napoleon’s Maxims of War for the first time. His last maxim, amplified my already passionate love of history.

Maxim LXXVIII. Peruse again and again the campaigns of Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Gustavus Adolphus, Turenne, Engene, and Frederick. Model yourself upon them. This is the only means of becoming a great captain, and of acquiring the secret of the art of war. Your own genius will be enlightened and improved by this study, and you will learn to reject all maxims foreign to the principles of these great commanders.

When I attended college, this love of the past influenced my choice to study history and political science. I knew the past was critical to understanding the future. Napoleon said it—so I was convinced.

Who knew that an understanding of history would also shed important light on Alabama athletics.

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I guess I should’ve known it considering as much time as we spend remembering championships long since past.

Alabama walks in the light of its past. And maybe that past provides hints to the future. Today’s hiring of Dave Hart as an assistant athletic director (perhaps athletic director in waiting?) harkens back to the University’s hiring of another favorite son, Cecil “Hootie” Ingram.

In 1989 when the shadow of chaos engulfed Alabama’s football program, Steve Sloan was ousted as athletic director, and Hootie Ingram was hired away from Florida State.

Ingram played football at Alabama, worked for the Southeastern Conference, and led a successful FSU athletic department.

Almost immediately, Curry was gone (of his own choosing more or less), and within a few years Alabama won a national championship.

Now comes a similar time of tumult at UA. A popular, but aging athletic director has postponed important decisions on the men’s basketball program—much like fans said Steve Sloan postponed making a decision about anything. While fans speculate on the coach’s future, the athletic director’s future is also debated.

When will Mal retire? Who will succeed him?

While Hart is heir presumptive, he isn’t necessarily heir apparent. Nonetheless, it would be hard to imagine someone with Hart’s year’s of experience at FSU as anything but the leader in a post-Mal athletic department.

Hart’s experience and stature mirrors Ingram. Ingram played football; Hart played basketball. And Hart arrives at a time of supreme uncertainty in the Alabama basketball program.

Hart has the advantage of being connected to the legendary C.M. Newton. Newton is a beloved former Alabama basketball coach, and a renowned administrator in his post-Alabama career.

Hart has the gravitas to hold Mark Gottfried accountable. Unlike anyone else around the Alabama athletic department administration, Hart is actually qualified.

That can’t mean good things for Mark Gottfried.

7 Comments

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  1. 1
    finebammer

    excellent blog, cap.

    have u ever seen a lead-up to football season with more basketball related news??

    keep your ear to the ground. it’s going to be interesting to see how hart and gottfried interact.

    one week gottfried hires pett.

    next week mal hires hart.

    coincidence??

  2. 2
    TiderInsider

    Very outstanding blog, Cap.

    Alabama is in dire need of someone who’s willing to come in and clean house in our athletic department. Moore was a pro at improving our facilities, but when it came to hiring and firing, he was quick to make the wrong hire, but was slow to do the right thing by firing those who didn’t belong in that position.

    Hopefully Hart can work on getting someone into the basketball program who can dig us out of the trenches of mediocrity because Gottfried’s chance surpassed him a while back.

  3. 3
    LCN

    Coincidence? Most likely so. Knowing our luck, Gottfried’s team will excel to the top this year, buying him more time at UA.

  4. 4
    LCN

    Coincidence? Most likely so. Knowing our luck, Gottfried’s team will excel to the top this year, buying him more time at UA.

  5. 5
    berman

    gottfried won’t go all the way next year. he’ll repeat what he’s done in the last two years. hopefully this hart guy will slap some sense into moore forcing him to put gottfried on the streets and replacing him with someone that’ll utilize the goldmine of talent we have playing for us right now.

    Count this as my signature:

  6. 6
    julio

    Cappy, it’s interesting that you mention Steve Sloan. The “shadow of chaos” you mentioned that surrounded the football program was really Sloan’s agreement to allow the IB to be played in Auburn. Sloan was never forgiven for that, and he was shown the door as a result. That was a raw deal. Sloan had absolutely no choice in the matter. The contract at Legion Field was set to expire, and there was no way in hell that Bama could dictate where Auburn wanted to play their home games. At the time, Sloan’s only other option could wouuld have been to go the conference for a vote where he would have lost 9-1. That would have been a humiliation, so Sloan got what he could by having the IB played at Legion Field in 91. Sloan was one of the classiest guys to ever come out of Bama, and he was probably Bear’s favorite player behind Pat Trammell. He deserved a hell of a lot better than the way he was treated by Bama.

  7. 7
    Bama Fan In N Y C

    Sloan was a classy guy, and I for one am glad they made the Iron Bowl a home and home series. But more importantly, I’m especially glad Alabama no longer plays premier opponents in Birmingham because that stadium is well, rather outdated and run down.

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