Shula Fired; Nationwide Search Begins

With coach Mike Shula ousted after a 6-and-6 season, Alabama turned today to a nationwide coaching search that Athletic Director Mal Moore said had the goal of hiring a -- quote -- "proven winner" to lead the Crimson Tide back to prominence.

Moore praised Shula for showing "impeccable character" but said Alabama had lost momentum this year, which followed a 10-win season.

He didn't name any potential candidates but said he was beginning a national search for what he called a "proven winner."

Defensive coordinator Joe Kines will serve as interim head coach of the bowl-eligible Tide. Shula a former Alabama quarterback had no head coaching experience when he was hired in 2003.

Moore said he and Shula discussed the status of the program during the season, but the coach's fate wasn't decided until a meeting with University President Robert Witt and trustees late Sunday afternoon. He said he didn't inform Shula of the decision until after the coach had already spoken to his players that evening.

Moore met with Alabama players at noon and players had no comment on Shula's firing. The firing of Shula means Alabama is looking for a head coach for the fourth time since 2000.

Monday, Tide and Tiger fans reacted to Shula's firing.  Most said they were just waiting of the ax to fall.

Six and Six just doesn't cut it in Tuscaloosa.  The news spread quickly across the plains that Shula was gone.

"I'm sure there is chaos in Tuscaloosa ring now not knowing what they are going to do next year," said Michelle Keener, an Auburn fan.

Suprisingly enough, Auburn and Tide fans agree,  Shula was as good as gone, when he lost to Auburn in the Iron Bowl, for the fourth straight year in a row.

"Every time Auburn made a good play and Alabama made a bad play we would be saying he's on his ear phones, talking to his wife, saying honey pack the bags and get the motors running we are out of here. So we knew, we weren't surprised, sad, but not surprised," said Alabama fan Tresa Miller.

So what's next for Alabama? Many fans are hoping Shula's repacement will mean better results for the Tide on the gridiron.

"The only thing I got to say to Mike Shula is I hope you find yourself a good job, cause they did you little wrong," said Chrsitopher Eperhart, a Tiger fan.