Glenn Coffee: A Tribute to an American Hero
Today, on Veteran’s Day, we honor the veterans of every branch of the United States’ military. While everyone surely knows someone close to them that has served, Alabama fans, young and old, remember a member of the Crimson Tide that will forever be an American hero- Glen Coffee.
According to Sports-Reference.com, Coffee, a Florida native, arrived to the Capstone as a freshman in 2005. Coffee, a running back, appeared in all 12 games of the season. Although Coffee wasn’t a starter, backing up Kenneth Darby, Coffee shared reps with Jimmy Johns.
Coffee only scored one touchdown in his freshman year, a homecoming game-touchdown-connection from John Parker Wilson, and totaled 179 rushing yards and 91 receiving yards.
After redshirting in 2006, Coffee returned in 2007 as a sophomore. Under new head coach Nick Saban, Coffee earned reps as the starting running back. In his nine games played, Coffee rushed for 545 yards with four touchdowns. In addition, Coffee caught 18 passes for 142 yards.
In his final season at Alabama, Glen Coffee started in all 14 games. While future Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram Jr. shared some reps, Coffee took the brunt of the carries. Throughout the entire 2008 season, the junior running back totaled 1383 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He also caught a single receiving touchdown.
Alabama went on to lose in the SEC Championship against Florida and again to the Utah Utes in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Coffee decided to forgo his senior season in Tuscaloosa and enter the 2009 NFL Draft. Luckily for the running back, Coffee was picked up in the third round by the San Francisco 49ers where he was poised to back up legendary running back Frank Gore.
Coffee had an average rookie season- he started in two of his 14 games played and scored one total touchdown. He finished his rookie season with 226 rushing yards and 76 receiving yards.
After the two-week training camp before his second year, Coffee announced an unexpected retirement from football.
In an interview with the Sacramento Bee, Coffee explained that his heart just wasn’t into playing football anymore. He continued in the interview, saying that he felt that God wanted him to do something different with his life.
Shortly after he retired, Coffee enlisted in the Army. According to FanBuzz.com, the former running back “graduated from the Army’s Airborne School in Fort Benning, Georgia, in 2013. Coffee trained as an army paratrooper and was assigned to the 6th Ranger Training Battalion.”
After his four-year tour in the Army, Coffee returned to football where he was reinstated and released by the 49ers. After not getting another shot in the NFL, Coffee returned to the University of Alabama in 2017 to complete his degree.
Coffee is no longer an assistant coach at Alabama, but the running back will forever be an inspiration for Alabama fans everywhere. From stepping back from being a potential NFL All-Star, to serving alongside America’s finest, Coffee showed that sometimes it is important to do what is needed, even if it isn’t the easiest option.