Sanderson and Smith come to Atmore

Published 1:33 am Wednesday, December 15, 2004

By By Arthur McLean
Two Alabama basketball legends visited Atmore Tuesday when Wimp Sanderson and Sonny Smith came to town.
Sanderson and Smith broadcast their daily sports talk show from the studio of WNSI 105.9 FM in Atmore Tuesday morning and then spoke to members of the Rotary Club and Lions Club during a luncheon meeting.
Sanderson was the coach of the decade for the 1980s in the SEC as the head basketball coach of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Sanderson led the Crimson tide to three consecutive SEC championships from 1989 to 1991.
Smith coached Auburn basketball for 11 years and is considered one of the school's most successful basketball coaches. The coached such outstanding and outspoken players like Charles Barkley.
Sanderson said Smith traded jokes and-good natured barbs during the luncheon. Smith said he knew "Sonny would beat me on (recruiting) Barkley because I was there when they opened the bids."
Sanderson addressed the current state of college football coaching, saying fans and athletic directors had become too impatient. "They don't wait to pull the string when a coach is having a tough year," Sanderson said. He pointed out that had Auburn fired Tommie Tuberville after the 2003 season, the team likely would have been 7-5 and without such star players as Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown.
He also said the criticism of Alabama's schedule this year was too harsh, after all, the team will make its first bowl appearance since probation, something the fans are excited about seeing.
The pair answered questions from the floor, including how Sanderson's plaid jackets became his trademark, and how coaches can keep star players from turning pro early.
Smith kept the laughter track rolling with a string of jokes, including one about the electric vacuum salesman who paid a visit to his Tennessee home as a boy. "He threw some cow chips on the floor and told my momma, 'if this new and improved electric vacuum can't clean your floor good as new, I'll eat those chips. My momma said 'you better get started, because we don't have any electricity."

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