Bill Curry

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Tuesday, August 6
Chan Gailey must stifle his NFL gremlins

By Bill Curry
Special to

Like most Georgia Tech alumni, I followed the events of last December in our football program with a mixture of embarrassment and wonder. Embarrassment over the obvious, and wonder at the team's amazing performance against Stanford in the Seattle Bowl.

Chan Gailey
Chan Gailey
It was as fine an example of team and staff resolve in the midst of turmoil as I have ever seen. This is my 48th consecutive year of football, so I've seen a great deal.

Now comes Chan Gailey to this complicated scenario. He has impeccable football credentials and a reputation for integrity. He is a good family man. He is best friends with Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Reeves. He is from Americus, Ga. He was probably an Eagle Scout.

Now, though, I wonder about this: Is Gailey too good to be true?

Let me be clear: I do not question Gailey's ability or intentions. But I wonder about the gremlins. We all have them. They are lurking and lying in wait. They pounce at the most inopportune times, causing us to trip over words, make mistakes or lose our cool. They are hard to control ... sometimes they look like Jerry Jones.

Gailey has been successful in Denver, Pittsburgh, Dallas (as head coach of the Cowboys, no less!) and Miami. In light of that, I'm curious about whether he can stifle his NFL gremlins. I mean, when an 18-year-old cuts chemistry class because he "forgot," how will Gailey respond? When the kids are too tired to practice because they were pulling all-nighters for mid-terms, will he be able to smile, breathe deeply and shorten the practice session? I'm wondering ... and hoping.

Gremlin banishment is a prime prerequisite for good coaches, and if I were laying odds, I would bet that Gailey can pull it off. It will be harder than he thinks, but I have a good feeling about the man.

ESPN college football analyst Bill Curry was the head coach at Georgia Tech (1980-86), Alabama (1987-89) and Kentucky (1990-96).

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