Gottfried: No harsh words for Moore or Alabama

Published 4:45 pm Friday, January 30, 2009

TUSCALOOSA — When Mark Gottfried takes stock of his Alabama career, he focuses on the successes, not the failures.

And if the ending wasn’t what he had hoped for, the former Crimson Tide coach isn’t griping about that either.

“My dream has been to take Alabama to the Final Four, even as a player,” Gottfried said. “We came close. We got to the Elite Eight (in 2004). We were ranked No. 1 in the country at one point. So I feel sad that dream has ended for me. But I’m not one of those guys that’s going to hang my head and pout and moan and groan every day.

“And I’m never going to say anything negative about Alabama, because I don’t feel negative feelings. I love Alabama. Sometimes, it’s just time to move on to the next chapter.”

The next chapter includes field trips, picking up the kids at school, and watching his son play high school basketball.

And after that? More coaching, either in the college ranks or as an NBA assistant.

“I still have a burning desire to coach,” Gottfried said. “I have a passion for it. I think I still have some good years ahead of me.”

Gottfried made his first public comments Thursday in interviews with The Birmingham News and Mobile Press-Register since resigning three days earlier during his 11th season as his alma mater’s head coach. He is receiving a $2.25 million buyout in 29 monthly installments.

Gottfried declined to offer details about the Monday meeting with athletic director Mal Moore, during which he agreed to resign.

“I don’t think that’s important any more,” he said. “What’s done is done. Mal is one of the best human beings I’ve come across. He was gracious when we met.”

He also wouldn’t go into point guard Ronald Steele’s decision to leave the team, saying “I’m not gonna look back.”

Gottfried said he “absolutely” would have liked to finish the season.

“But you also want to do what’s best for the university, too,” he said. “And I respect who I worked for. There comes a time when it’s time.”

Gottfried said he is pulling for interim coach Philip Pearson and his former players.

In the meantime, he has been able to spend more time with his wife and five kids, from attending a fifth-grade field trip to Birmingham’s McWane Center to waiting in car pool lines at their schools.

“I’ve been in the driveway shooting baskets with my boys,” Gottfried said. “You feel like you’re on the hamster wheel in coaching, and I’ve taken a step off the wheel. I don’t want to stay off of it long, but I do feel like I’ve gotten off the wheel, and I want to focus on family right now.”