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Shula has a lesson to learn

By Staff
Charles Prince, Sports Editor
Paul Bryant said he learned it from Bud Wilkinson. After Bryant's No. 7 ranked Kentucky team upset No.1 Oklahoma 13-7 in the 1951 Sugar Bowl, Wilkinson asked to speak to the Kentucky team.
Wilkinson told the Wildcats that they played a great game and praised them for their effort and explained that they could have won by a greater margin.
Contrast that post-game locker room talk with what happened at the Capstone last week.
By now you have heard that Alabama football coach Mike Shula has apologized to Sylvester Croom and decided to restore his name to a spring practice award. Just a week earlier, Shula stripped Croom's name from the award.
Timeout-If there hadn't been such a public uproar over the name change, would he have changed it back?
Does an apology really make up for taking Croom's name off the award in the first place?
I think Shula could learn a thing or two from some of the athletes that I have meet when covering sports in the state.
For example when I went to Falkville on Feb. 2, when senior Meagan Wiley surpassed the 1,000-point milestone. After interviewing Wiley on her special night, Meagan thanked me for coming and doing a story on her.
Second timeout – As a reporter, isn't it my job to cover the big sports stories in my area? No one has to thank me for covering their stories, so why did Wiley? The same reason that Wilkinson addressed the Kentucky team after the Sugar Bowl.
A second example is a letter I received at the Enquirer office last Friday. The letter was from Natalie Mullins, a sophomore at Cold Springs High School in Cullman County. Mullins wrote a letter thanking me for the articles I wrote about her team when I worked at the Cullman Times.
I covered Cold Springs several times last season before I began work at the Enquirer on Dec. 29, 2003.
She went on to thank me for nominating her for the All-State basketball team, a team which she was voted to last month
Third timeout – Isn't it my job to report which players play well, regardless of the sport?
And nominating a player for All-State is not a big deal, it's what a sport writer should do.
Once again, here's a young person that didn't have to express thanks, so why did she? She was displaying a quaility that Bud Wilkinson had.
The highest paid employee at The University of Alabama can learn something from some of the young athletes in our area. It's the same thing that Bear Bryant learned from Bud Wilkinson-it's called class.

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