Dr. Mack Portera announced Monday he was stepping down as UA Chancellor. A member of the Alabama House of Representatives quickly moved to suggest Condoleezza Rice as a prestigious replacement.
Dr. Rice is originally from Birmingham but spent her middle school and high school years in Tuscaloosa, where her father the Rev. John Rice took a position at Stillman College and her mother was a teacher at Druid High School. She maintains strong ties in the State of Alabama even though her college education and career were spent far away from Alabama. During George Bush’s presidential campaign, she even named a political group The Vulcans in honor of the ideals embodied in the great strides made in Birmingham public policy.
She continues to be a supporter of The University of Alabama, as well as an avid fan of Crimson Tide football. In her book, “Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me,” she spends a couple of chapters on her time in T-Town including stories of attending Bama football games, and the University speakers series where she met the famous politicians of her time.
According to Mark Schlabach, her father had been a coach as a young man. Father and daughter played football in the yard. Even before moving to Tuscaloosa, they listened to Bear Bryant's Alabama teams on the radio. She loves to tell stories of attending recent Bama games, including tossing the coin at Bryant-Denny Stadium for the opening of the huge rivalry game with Tennessee. This past season, Rice even attended the Alabama-LSU game on November 5th and predicted a win for the Tide.
As former Secretary of State, politics doesn’t want to let her go though. Despite her denials, Rice continues to be mentioned as a possible Vice Presidential candidate on the Republican ticket. She remains firm in her commitment to the educational and public policy establishment rather than returning to politics. In fact, her ultimate goal is to be the NFL Commissioner.
It would be indeed be a coup if the University of Alabama system could entice Dr. Rice back to Alabama.
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