A Montgomery native will be the grand marshall of Alabama's homecoming parade tomorrow. His name is Ed Conyers and he's been a big part of Alabama's athletic program for 53 years.
Ed Conyers has been officiating Alabama football practices since 1961, when legendary Coach Bear Bryant lead the program. As for how he got the job, he tells us he believes he simply was in the right place at the right time. He says Coach Bryant's right hand man, Carney Laslie was looking for another man to officiate, when Conyers answered the phone.
I said coach, what is it you want me to do?" he remembers. "And i remember he talked low, he mumbled and he didn't say anything twice and he said something, I don't know what he said. But i remember I didn't ask him what he said, I just said yes sir."
Conyers soon learned what Coach Bryant wanted. For the first 10 years he wasn't paid for his service because the NCAA did not exist. Instead, he says he did it for the love of the game, even leaving his other job early to officiate.
And from 53 years of practice, Conyers says he's made more friends than he can count. But he does have his close buddies from each team.
We'd practice at 2 o'clock in the afternoon but if you've got a job, you worked til 5 o'clock," Conyers explains. "And I had to somehow get off at two and how I did that, I simply dont know. I'd just tell my boss I believe I'm going to go get a coke or something and vrrmmm, out to practice."
Arenas, he was one of my buddies," says Conyers. "Marquis Maze was one of my buddies and now Christion Jones is one of my buddies. You got to have that little cocky, arrogant, small but great ball player. I tend to gravitate toward that type player."
Even in his 80
's, Conyers can still officiate just as well as he did in his 30's. He takes his job very seriously but still finds room to poke fun at himself.
oach Saban gets on me everyday. We go from one drill to another one, he'll tell me come on let's run. I'll tell him I am running. That's my top speed."
says all of Alabama's great coaches, including Bear Bryant, Gene Stallings and Nick Saban, seem to have similarities.
Conyers says he'll continue to officiate practice as long as it benefits the team.
They touch all the bases and don't leave anything to chance. All three of those coaches were very good at having discipline and you better do what they say."