JACKSON, Miss. -- How's this for a strange twist to a coaching search: Mike DuBose was carrying his son's furniture down a stairwell when he became a college head coach again.
The former Southeastern Conference coach of the year was helping
his son move from South Carolina to Virginia last week when his
bosses at Division III Millsaps called his cell phone and promoted
him from defensive coordinator.
"I'm walking down three flights of stairs carrying furniture,
trying to talk on the phone about the job," DuBose said Wednesday.
"I've never been involved in one that was done exactly that way."
Six years after being forced from his dream job at Alabama -- and
after a series of job changes across the country -- the 53-year-old
protege of Bear Bryant is again in charge of a college team.
"A lot of things had to fall into place," DuBose said.
The chain of events began last month when the Green Bay Packers
fired coach Mike Sherman. New coach Mike McCarthy fired six
assistants and two staff members, then hired Shawn Slocum from Ole
Miss as a special teams assistant.
Millsaps coach David Saunders was hired to replace Slocum, and
he then recommended to officials at the school that DuBose take
over the program.
Ten months earlier, Saunders urged DuBose to join the Millsaps
staff and return to coaching college football.
"Without David Saunders, it would never have happened," he
DuBose, who played for Bryant in the 1970s, took over for Gene
Stallings at Alabama in 1997 and went 24-23 in four seasons. He was
the SEC's coach of the year in 1999 -- when the Crimson Tide won the
league title and played in the Orange Bowl -- but was forced out a
year later amid a sexual harassment complaint, an NCAA
investigation and a losing season.
He was out of football in 2001 and coached at the high school
level in Alabama from 2002-2004 until Saunders made him Millsaps'
defensive coordinator last year.
DuBose says he wants to avoid one mistake that haunted him
nearly a decade ago when he took over the Crimson Tide.
"I never really sat down with Gene Stallings and talked about
the program and the things he went through, and gleaned from that
knowledge," DuBose said. "I'm not going to make that mistake
again. ... There are some things that are common to all jobs, and
some are unique to each situation, and those are things I want to
sit down with David and talk about."
Millsaps was 2-7 last season with the worst total defense in the
Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, allowing an average of
It's unrealistic to expect DuBose to transform the tiny
Methodist college into 'Bama West, though he does want to build a
competitive football program while maintaining the school's high
"This is a unique place. Division III is obviously different
from Division I," he said. "There's a bigger separation between
academics and athletics, and I want to make sure that remains very
important in the process. ... There's a high price to pay
academically -- the demands are great, but the rewards are great."
Mike DuBose was helping his son move to Virginia last week when Division III Millsaps called his cell phone and promoted him to head coach.