Former Alabama and Auburn head coaches Gene Stallings and Pat Dye are expected to be at a "special Iron Bowl" Game in August.
For those of us who are looking forward with anticipation to the start of college football season we need to pause and think about the ones that are still trying to overcome the second worst tornado disaster in US history. Lest we forget ... there are still Alabamian's who are either homeless, living in disaster relief trailers, or in some cases tents.
Tornadoes in the South are a regular part of life, but thank God most are not as devastating as the ones that tore through the region on April 27-28, 2011.
At least 160 storms ripped eight southern states, killing close to 400 people and costing billions of dollars in damage. And Alabama received the worst of the killer storms' punch.
Back during the early days of the tragedy there were a variety of ways to donate or lend a helping hand; from helping agencies like the Red Cross to football players from both Alabama and Auburn assisting with the clean up.
Now football players from both schools will be at it again, but not the current Auburn and Alabama players. This time it will be a group of old - timers that will be hosting a 'special Iron Bowl' in August to help with the on going relief.
Former players from both sides will be playing in a flag football game at Spain Park High School Stadium in Birmingham August 13 at 7 p.m. The event is being called the "HeartinDixie Alumni Day Flag Football Game."
It is the brain child of a group of Bama 'A' Club members who wanted to do more to raise funds and spread awareness of the continuing need for tornado relief in the state.
There are plans for about 40 former players to participate including such notables a Bo Jackson, Cornelius Bennett, Al Del Greco, Bobby Humphrey, Stan White, Lee Roy Jordan, and Joe Cribbs. The ole college stars will be available before the game between 6-7 pm for autographs.
Coach Gene Chizik and Nick Saban will not be able to attend because they will be in the middle of August football practices. However, former (Hall of Fame) head coaches Pat Dye and Gene Stallings are expected to be on hand.
Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore said, ""While the world has moved on, we still have much work to do ... and this is a unique opportunity to assist our state."
Auburn AD Jay Jacobs said this, " Is a chance to show the nation ... that we are united in helping Alabama rebuild and recover. We learn the most about each other in difficult times, and what we have learned about Alabamians since the devastating tornadoes is that what binds us together is much bigger than what sets us apart."
The Spain Park Stadium holds about 12,000 and the $20.00 tickets will eventually be on sale online at alumniday.com. Proceeds are going to the HeartinDixie Foundation which describes itself as, "A non-profit organization comprised of Alabama and Auburn supporters united in relief efforts following the April 27 tornadoes."
So if you are in the Birmingham area or can make the drive, this is one way you can see former Iron Bowl stars as well as help out your fellowman. I plan to buy my ticket. After all I've been to a lot of Iron Bowls ... but never one in August.
Hope to see you there.