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Alabama Coach Finds Christ, Renews Football Zeal by David Roach

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OPP, Ala. (BP) — Former University of Alabama football coach Mike DuBose says his two favorite words in the Bible are “but God” in Ephesians 2:4.

He believes the description of spiritual transformation those words introduce mirrors the work of God he has experienced, beginning toward the end of a trying stint nearly two decades ago as leader of one of college football’s winningest programs.

“If it wasn’t for the ‘but God’ moment,” DuBose, 64, told Baptist Press, “there wouldn’t have been a rebirth and old things passing away and all things becoming new.”

From personal and football-related challenges in 1999-2000 that led to DuBose’s forced resignation at Alabama, he has emerged with a personal relationship with Jesus, a strengthened marriage and a ministry to young football players.

His wife Polly said she and her husband are “an example of what God can do to put your life back together [and] make you new people.”

Coming to a ‘crossroads’

DuBose initially professed faith in Christ as a high school student, but he was not discipled and says he may not truly have been born again. So he drifted from Christ through nearly 30 years as a defensive lineman at Alabama, an assistant and head high school coach and an assistant coach in the NCAA and NFL.

He was hired as Alabama’s head coach in 1996, leading the Tide to a 1999 Southeastern Conference title, an Orange Bowl appearance and earning SEC Coach of the Year honors. Yet he also experienced turmoil. Reports in 1999 of personal misconduct were followed by a 3-8 record in 2000, and DuBose was forced to resign.

“I was angry when I got fired,” DuBose said. “But the reality is I should have gotten fired.”

Unbeknownst to many, however, God began to work in DuBose’s life during the 2000 season.

“We just came to that crossroads and knew I was definitely going down the wrong road, that road that leads to death and hell for eternity … At that time, I recommitted my life to Christ,” he said.

Then he paused: “Maybe recommitted is not the right word. It may have been, committed my life for really the first time. I got into the Word and built a relationship. And that was a journey. It was a process. It wasn’t an overnight and total change.”

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