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Coach reverses decision that angered Tide faithful

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Sylvester Croom's legacy at Alabama
remains strong even though he now coaches Southeastern
Conference rival Mississippi State.

Coach Mike Shula reinstated Croom's name to a spring award
Monday, reversing a decision that angered some former players and
Crimson Tide fans.

Shula, away on a fund-raising cruise last week, apologized for
renaming the Sylvester Croom Commitment to Excellence Award after
former Alabama quarterback Bart Starr.

"Our original intention was to not have an award named after
another head coach in the SEC," Shula said in a statement.

"However, we need to fully recognize and value the deep feelings
of all our players about their years and contributions to our great
university."

Croom, a finalist for Alabama's coaching job last May, was hired
at Mississippi State after the season. He's the SEC's first black
head football coach.

The award -- one of 15 handed out every spring -- was named for
Croom in 1987, and it drew little attention outside the team until Shula changed the name.

Shula said he apologized to Croom on Sunday night "and told him
that there was no intention whatsoever to take away from the
importance or prestige of the spring award named in his honor."