A former head coach at Auburn University knows a little about what Mike Shula might be feeling. Shula was fired Monday as head coach at Alabama.
Coach Doug Barfield has a lot in common with Shula. Both served about the same amount of time as head coach, both have similar records, and both were ultimately let go.
"They (Alabama) hadn't beaten Auburn for five years and we didn't beat Alabama when I was head coach," Barfield recalls.
It's been 25 years since Barfield's days as a tiger. But he says he can still remember the pressure. It's pressure that may be worse today, he says, because of the finances of football.
"I think the big salaries added to it. The fans are impatient sooner," he said.
Barfield says Shula may feels he let down his fans, but he's probably thinking more of his players and assistant coaches.
He says a losing season isn't the head coach's fault alone, but as is the case in life, the one in charge is the one responsible.
"That's just part of the business," Barfield says. "You know that when you get in it, but it's still tough."
If there's one thing Barfield would say to Shula, it's that there is life after college football. He says he wouldn't trade his days coaching high school ball for anything.
And today, he's still going strong. He currently serves as executive director of sports development for Encore, Inc., a Decatur-based sports medicine and rehabilitation company.
Barfield has also served as athletic director at UMS-Wright Prep School in Mobile. His and his wife now make their home in Montgomery.