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Conyers shares stories at Bama Club

University of Alabama practice referee Eddie Conyers gave the crowd at the Dallas-Wilcox Bama Club plenty to laugh about Monday night at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center.  --Daniel Evans

University of Alabama practice referee Eddie Conyers gave the crowd at the Dallas-Wilcox Bama Club plenty to laugh about Monday night at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center. –Daniel Evans

Coaches and players have changed at the University of Alabama through the years, but Eddie Conyers is still there.

Conyers, who has served as the Crimson Tide’s practice referee since Paul “Bear” Bryant was coaching at Alabama, spent Monday night sharing stories with the Dallas-Wilcox Bama Club at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center.

“People ask me a lot of times to compare coach Bryant, coach [Gene] Stallings and coach [Nick] Saban,” Conyers said. “I think coach Saban is the best coach in the United States of America. Coach Bryant was the best of his time and I think coach Stallings was the best of his time.”

Conyers said Bryant made ordinary people extraordinary while Stallings took a “plain vanilla” approach to offense. He said Saban is completely different, because he loves to recruit top talent.

“He loves the recruiting process,” Saban said. “We have the number one recruiting class coming in nearly every year. A lot of coaches don’t love the recruiting process, but coach Saban relishes it and he does a fantastic job at it.”

Conyers didn’t only talk about Alabama football.

He told several stories throughout the night, including one about the first high school game he ever refereed — which was in Selma.

The game was between Selma and Andalusia at Memorial Stadium and although he was confident, he wasn’t prepared when a fluke play took place that likely would have confused even a veteran referee. Andalusia lined up to punt and the ball went backwards, causing a lot of confusion.

“It starts going over the punter’s head and the defensive back was giving the fair catch signal behind the line of scrimmage,” Conyers said. “To this very minute, I still don’t know if you can [fair catch] it or not.”

Conyers was at Alabama’s practice Monday before traveling to Selma to speak at the Bama Club and he will be back at practice Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

He said all five of Alabama’s quarterbacks look good so far — including Jacob Coker and Blake Sims, the favorites for the Crimson Tide’s starting job.