Auburn announces search firm, advisory group for finding next head football coach

image2 months ago Auburn announces search firm, advisory group for finding next head football coach

Auburn University Director of Athletics Allen Greene on Tuesday announced a search firm and advisory group that will assist with the search for the program’s next permanent head football coach.

Parker Executive Search Firm, based in Atlanta, Georgia, will assist an eight-member advisory group.

This group includes administrators from the university and its athletics department, along with prominent Auburn alumni and football letterwinners.

Members of the advisory group are as follows:

Allen Greene; Director of Athletics Lieutenant General Ron Burgess; Executive Vice President, Auburn University Dr.Beverly Marshall, Auburn Faculty Athletic Representative Tim Jackson; Executive Associate AD, Auburn Athletics Bo Jackson; Auburn Football Letterman, 1985 Heisman Trophy Winner Quentin Riggins; Auburn Football Letterman, Auburn Board of Trustees Randy Campbell; Auburn Football Letterman Michelle McKenna; Chief Information Officer, National Football League

This comes after Auburn on Sunday announced that Gus Malzahn’s contract had been terminated.Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is serving as interim head coach.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News.You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn Steve Flowers 2 hours ago Flowers: Alabama will miss Richard Shelby immensely

In only 21 short months, at the close of 2022, Alabama will lose the greatest senator in our state’s history.Those of us who are political historians will acknowledge Richard Shelby as Alabama’s most pronounced political emissary in Washington.

In my 2015 book, “Six Decades of Alabama Political History,” I have a chapter titled “Alabama’s Three Greatest Senators,” which features Lister Hill, John Sparkman and Richard Shelby.Lister Hill and John Sparkman were icons but, if I were writing that chapter today, Richard Shelby would be alone as the premier “Giant of Alabama.”

Hill served in the Senate for 30 years and Sparkman for 32 years.

Shelby eclipsed Sparkman’s record two years ago, and at the end of his term, will set the bar at 36 years.

It should also be noted that Senators Shelby, Hill and Sparkman served nearly a decade or more in the U.S.House of Representatives.Senator Shelby is now in his 43rd year in Washington.648 Keep reading 648 WORDS

Seniority is king and paramount in assessing power under the Capitol dome.However, what you do with that seniority is what makes one great.

The average voter and citizen of our beloved state do not comprehend the magnitude of the federal largesse that Richard Shelby has brought home to the Heart of Dixie.His strength, power and resolve have resulted in countless improvements to every corner of our state.

It would take volumes and annals to chronicle the federal dollars that Shelby has funneled to Alabama throughout his career.

Beginning with the coastal area of Mobile and the Docks, to the Wiregrass and Fort Rucker, to Montgomery’s Maxwell and Gunter; to UAB in Birmingham, and finally Shelby’s impact on the growth and prosperity of the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, are incomprehensible.Folks, when you combine all of the aforementioned economic engines, we are not talking about a couple million extra federal dollars but more like hundreds of millions of federal dollars.

Shelby has been the savior of these centers of economic growth and employment in our state.The two most important, UAB and Redstone Arsenal, owe their growth and prosperity to Shelby’s ability to bring home the bacon.

He has had the most profound impact over the last few years as chairman of the U.S.Senate Appropriations Committee.

He very adroitly kept in conjunction the chairmanship of the Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations.If you do not think defense dollars are important to Alabamians, simply ask the folks in the Wiregrass and Montgomery’s River Region what Ft.

Rucker and Maxwell/Gunter mean to them.Also, Huntsville would be a sleepy little cotton town if it were not for the Redstone Arsenal.

While Shelby was not in the U.S.Senate when these facilities were placed in Alabama, you can bet your bottom dollar that they have flourished, prospered, and more than likely survived because of Richard Shelby.

Senator Shelby and I have been friends for over 35 years.I was a part of his inaugural 1986 triumphant election to the Senate.

To know him personally is to see a man that you instantly recognize as a once-in-a-lifetime giant.He is extremely witty and personable with a keen lawyer’s mind that analyzes your words as soon as they come out of your mouth.Indeed, he was a brilliant and very successful lawyer before entering Congress.If he had not gone into politics, he could have become a billionaire as a Wall Street lawyer.

As Shelby eloquently said in his retirement statement, there is a time for every season.He will be 87 in May of this year and 88 at the end of this term.He deserves some private years.

He enjoys time with his wife and best friend of over 60 years, Annette.He will enjoy being at home in his beloved Tuscaloosa and hunting occasionally with his buddies, Joe Perkins and Judge Coogler.Maybe he will have time to reminisce with some of us who like to share old Alabama political stories.

In closing, there will be plenty of time to observe the fray that will be developing to follow the legend of Richard Shelby, but no one will ever fill his shoes.As I traversed the state doing television interviews the day of Shelby’s announcement, I became melancholy and almost tearful for Alabama’s sake.

While driving between Montgomery and Birmingham, I had a lengthy telephone conversation with the lady who has been Shelby’s real chief of staff, confidant and gatekeeper his entire career in Congress.She very aptly told me to tell the people of Alabama that whoever follows Shelby, even if brilliant, will be 20 years in waiting and learning before they will be able to wield any power.

She is correct.Seniority is king in Washington.

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist.His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers.He served 16 years in the state legislature.Steve may be reached at

Chuck Chandler 4 hours ago Alabama attorney Fred Gray looks back on life of ‘destroying everything segregated’

Few people can say they knew Martin Luther King Jr.and Rosa Parks when that internationally celebrated pair were average citizens.

Fred Gray can.

The 90-year-old legendary civil rights lawyer has known most of the most-respected figures in the modern movement toward equality for Blacks.He represented Parks and King, persuading judges to make rulings that helped shape both of their lives.Gray’s courtroom victories led to many of the most important gains in reducing the vast disparity in rights that was a reality in America when he opened his first law office in Montgomery.

“Fred Gray is truly one of the giants of not only the legal profession, but of American history,” said Patricia Lee Refo, president of the 400,000-member American Bar Association.“He is the quintessential example of the great social good which a lawyer can accomplish.” 2084 Keep reading 2084 WORDS

In 1954, Parks helped Gray set up his small headquarters at 113 Monroe St.

and within a year he became friends with King.Together, the trio were in the front row of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which in 1956 brought a U.S.Supreme Court ruling that abolished segregation on public buses .Four years later, Gray convinced an all-white jury to acquit King on trumped-up tax evasion charges.

Over the next decades, Gray would win cases that affirmed the one person, one vote principle; ensured protection for marchers from Selma to Montgomery; integrated the University of Alabama, Auburn University and all Alabama public educational institutions ; brought equal rights and protections to college students; ended systematic exclusion of Blacks from juries; integrated public parks; and allowed the NAACP to operate in the state.King called Gray “the chief counsel for the protest movement.”

“He’s one of my heroes,” said Pulitzer Prize-nominated historian Wayne Flynt.

“I got to know him pretty well when I was writing ‘Alabama in the Twentieth Century,’ and I interviewed him, and I really, really admire him.”

Flynt said Gray was never intimidated in the courtroom facing white lawyers, judges and witnesses during civil rights cases.Despite efforts by whites to embarrass Gray, the Montgomery attorney “in an age of apartheid had more bone in his little finger than almost anyone I’ve ever known in their entire backbone,” Flynt said.

“His attitude was not to confront you in the sense that most whites understand,” said Flynt, Auburn University professor emeritus of history.

“He was not going to raise his voice and he was not going to fling out profanities and he was not going to stomp his foot but what he was going to do is demand that you respect him as your equal.”

Gray remains sharp as a tack, continuing to work as an attorney for the 67th consecutive year, going into his Tuskegee office each day and tackling cases as if he were beginning his career.He doesn’t seek clients but is constantly asked to provide legal expertise.He hasn’t had a vacation in years, unless one counts when he was keynote speaker at conventions in places where people vacation.

Setting out as a 24-year-old to “destroy everything segregated I could find,” Gray, by most any measuring stick, has accomplished his lifelong goal.

Yet, he admits, the road to freedom for Black Americans is still far from being a freeway.

“I think that we’ve made a tremendous amount of progress in almost every aspect of American life,” Gray said.

“I’ve been able, with a lot of help along the way, to be instrumental to do some of that.However, the struggle for equal justice continues.”

Gray said he was alarmed at incidents that fueled the Black Lives Matter movement of the past year.His concerns were amplified by the “mob that went up to the Capitol” on Jan.6.He said the nation has made obvious progress since Blacks were brought in chains to America 400 years ago but that two major problems remain.

“Racism is not over; we don’t live on a level playing field,” he said.“Secondly, inequality still exists.I don’t care what aspect you take, whether it’s in housing, whether it’s in employment, or whether it’s in health care or even the distribution of resources, they are not equal.… This country, up until now, has never faced the racism and the inequality questions.

We just haven’t faced it.”

Born Dec.13, 1930, one year into the Great Depression, it didn’t take Gray long to realize his predicament as a Black person on the poor side of Montgomery.His father, Abraham, died when Gray was 2, leaving Nancy Gray with five children and little income.His mother’s formal education ended after the fifth or sixth grade, but she relied on a religious upbringing to cope.

She worked as a “domestic” in the homes of white people.Growing up on West Jeff Davis Avenue, Gray knew nothing about the legal profession.

“When I was coming along as a child in the ’30s and the early ’40s, there were only about two professions that Black young men or boys on my side of town could do that were respectable positions; that would be a preacher or a teacher,” he said.“And I decided that I would be both.”

The Grays regularly attended Holt Street Church of Christ, which was two blocks from where Rosa Parks lived and in the same area where the bus boycott began.Fred Gray “used to baptize cats and dogs” in his neighborhood, which caught the attention of his preacher, Sutton Johnson.

The Holt Street religious leader recommended to Mrs.Gray that 12-year-old Fred be enrolled in the National Christian Institute boarding school in Nashville, Tennessee.Gray would become a favorite of the school president, Marshall Keeble, who was a pioneer Black preacher nationally in the Church of Christ.

“I was actually pretty good at preaching, because he took me around at that early age … to all these churches in Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and we would preach and we would end up recruiting students,” Gray said.

He graduated in 1948, returned to Montgomery and enrolled at Alabama State College for Negroes to become a teacher.

Gray’s family had no car and, because his mother’s home was on the west side of town, he had to take city buses to classes at the college that is now Alabama State University on the east side of town.

“I found out then that Black people in Montgomery had some serious problems,” Gray said.“One, they were being mistreated on the buses, being told to get up and give white people their seats.

A Black man had been killed on one of the buses.I concluded that while I didn’t know anything about lawyers, and didn’t know any lawyers, I understood that lawyers help people solve problems, and I thought Black people in Montgomery had problems.… Everything was completely segregated and we were just mistreated in every aspect of life.”

Gray graduated from ASU in 1951, deciding he wanted to be a preacher, teacher and lawyer.

Because Blacks weren’t allowed to attend law schools in Alabama, he applied for and was admitted to Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.It was the first time he had ever lived in a white environment.In 1954, he graduated and took the Ohio bar exam, then came home and took the Alabama bar exam, passing both.On Sept.

7, 1954, Gray was licensed to practice in Alabama, becoming one of a handful of Black lawyers in the state.

Gray had been supported in his law school efforts by Parks, ASU professor J.E.Pierce, Montgomery civil rights activist E.D.Nixon and others.He’d followed his mother’s instructions to “Keep Christ first in your life, stay in school, get a good education and stay out of trouble.” She’d told him it was fine to be a lawyer, but to never stop preaching.Gray would preach at Newtown Church of Christ in the midst of important early civil rights trials and he continues preaching today.

Even before the bus boycotts, Gray was being groomed for that historic stage.He’d hardly begun practicing when he was hired to represent 15-year-old Claudette Colvin, who’d been arrested on March 2, 1955, for refusing to give up her seat to a white person on a Montgomery city bus.

“That was my first civil rights case, before Judge (Wiley) Hill.

And I tried to explain to Judge Hill that she was not a delinquent … but they were trying to enforce the segregation laws, and they were unconstitutional, but the judge didn’t listen to me,” Gray said laughing.“He was nice and respectful but he found her to be a delinquent and placed her on unsupervised probation, which meant that she didn’t have to report to anybody.She didn’t get involved in any more trouble.”

Parks and Gray had been having lunch together in his office, which was just down the street from where she worked as a seamstress for the Montgomery Fair department store.They talked for a year about the buses, desegregation, fairness in society for Blacks and what needed to be done to overcome those problems.

“I knew that, though she never told me what she would do, I felt confident that she would not get up and give her seat if the situation arose,” Gray said.

On Dec.1, 1955, Parks did not give up her seat.

Fifteen years later, Gray and Thomas Reed became the first Black members of the Alabama House of Representatives since Reconstruction .

In 1970, Gray would become noted for his legislative expertise and oratory, but four years earlier he had been set to make history alone, prior to some last-minute vote-counting.

“It came out that I was elected (in 1966),” Gray said, “and then down in Barbour County, when the absentee votes came in, I had lost by the amount of votes that I had originally won by.”

After the loss, Gray decided to move from Montgomery to Black-majority Tuskegee, where he set up a law office and was elected to the state governing body.

Soon afterward, he learned of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, and began representing the victims of the government effort in which Black men were offered free health care without being told they suffered from the disease.Gray won a lengthy court battle for the victims, which ultimately led to a public apology from President Bill Clinton.Gray wrote about his experiences in “The Tuskegee Syphilis Study” and his autobiography “Bus Ride to Justice.”

In his career, Gray has been lauded nationwide, including honorary doctorates from more than 10 universities.He was the first Black president of the Alabama Bar Association.He is in the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame .He received the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award.He was the National Bar Association president in 1985 and a decade later inducted into its Hall of Fame.Gray was named in 2019 as a “Living Legend” by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators and also as an Alabama Humanities Foundation Fellow.

Throughout his eight decades as a preacher, teacher and lawyer, Gray has credited his success to the earliest influence instilled by his mother.

“The Lord has played a major role in all of it,” he said.

“I wouldn’t handle a case that I didn’t think the Lord would be pleased with what I was doing.

Because I had, first, to be sure that what I’m doing is not contrary to God’s law and, secondly, it’s not contrary to my own basic religious background.So, it played a major role in all of it.”

Gray’s legal work and courtroom battles will be his legacy.He recognizes his role in societal changes since the 1950s has benefited Americans but Gray longs for more to be done in the nation he reveres.

“We need to, one, acknowledge the fact that racism and inequality is wrong, and that needs to start at the top.

I’m glad the president (Biden) has taken a step in that direction,” Gray said.“But it also needs to go from the Supreme Court, the CEOs, the heads of our educational institutions, the heads of our fraternities and our sororities and the heads of our religious organizations.

“We have to acknowledge that racism and inequality is wrong,” Gray added.“We have to come up with a plan … and while we talk about it starting at the top, we must also, every one of us individually, needs to realize that racism and inequality is so ingrained in this nation.”

Over his career, Gray has handled thousands of lawsuits.Legal precedent finds his name alongside some of the most important cases in Alabama and American history.

Cuba Gooding Jr.portrayed him in the movie “Selma,” persuading federal Judge Frank Johnson to allow King and others to march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.It was a milestone decision, yet legal experts and historians often debate about which of Gray’s cases is most important.

“When a person comes to a lawyer’s office, they usually have a problem,” Gray said.“And they don’t care how many cases you won or lost, all they want you to do is to devote effort to him and his case and get him the results he thinks he’s entitled to, whether he is legally entitled to it or not.I think all of my cases are the most important case I’ve had.

During Black History Month, Alabama NewsCenter is celebrating the culture and contributions of those who have shaped our state and those working to elevate Alabama today.Visit throughout the month for stories of Alabamians past and present..

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