Wilson carries winning legacy into career
In his senior season, he led the Alabama Crimson Tide to a 12-2 season and in the regular season finale he led Alabama to a 36-0 victory over in state rival Auburn ending a six game losing streak to the Tigers.
Chris Parker introduced Keynote Speaker John Parker Wilson during the recent 2017 Cherokee County University of Alabama Alumni Scholarship Banquet held in the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce office on the campus of Gadsden State Community College-Cherokee.
Tommy Bradley led in the blessing for the food. Lanny’s of Centre provided the meal for the evening.
When his career at the University of Alabama ended, Wilson held every significant passing record in the Alabama school history and still holds the record for completions in a single season.
When he was signed as a free agent in 2009, he spent four years in the NFL with the Falcons, Jaguars and Steelers. He currently lives in Birmingham with his family and is a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley.
“Thank you guys for letting me come,” said Wilson. “This is awesome. When we are in school playing ball and we are at the University, we really have not idea that this kind of stuff exists.”
“One hundred and six chapters and 70 are from out of the state,” said Wilson. “So wherever you go throughout the country, the world, if you are wearing your Alabama A which we all do when we travel away from Alabama, people recognize you. People want to be around you, people want to talk about Nick Saban how good we are. A lot of people don’t like us because of that, but I think that is really what stands us apart.”
Wilson praised the two 2017 scholarship recipients, Jacob Graves and Cade Gossett, both graduates of Cherokee County High School for both their past and future accomplishments.
He also recognized Bailey Brock who just graduated from the University of Alabama this past spring and attended her first Alumni Banquet.
“The bar has been raised so high,” said Wilson. “Coach Saban just came out with a new salary and is getting paid, $8 million a year, $11 million a year.”
“But I think he deserves a lot more,” said Wilson. “People can say what they want but the bar has been raised from Alabama from academics to facilities to football, now basketball, so I am really proud for me to be a University of Alabama Alumni.”
“I was in New York earlier this week,” said Wilson. “Like he said I work for Morgan Stanley which is one of the biggest investment firms in the world, and the people who are running our firms are asking me ‘how does Nick Saban run his football team?’ He is doing something right, he is really good and they are picking my brain about what Nick Saban does, what it is like on the inside?”
Coach Saban, Wilson said, is “the same day in and day out” and his drive to succeed is what makes he and his team so successful.”
“It is something I reflect every day now as an adult,” said Wilson. “It is really special to be from Alabama.”
Wilson admits his career began with some low points but that the team improved dramatically by his senior year.
“If you don’t beat Auburn, you don’t get to come and do stuff like this,” said Wilson. “Thank you for letting me come.”
Wilson said under Coach Saban, they learned how to win.
“For the seniors that year, it was a lot of pride to get Alabama coming back,” said Wilson. “And I was lucky enough to play in the pros for four years which was completely different from college. College was fun. It is kind of like being in a fraternity. You are with your boys all the time you go to class together, go to school together, study hall every now and then, chasing girls together and when you get to NFL, it is a job. It is different but it was great.”
Fans asked Wilson about some of his predictions for the upcoming Tide season.
He said there is still some question on the quarterback situation.
“On the defense we lost a lot, but we have some good guys back,” said Wilson.
In the past, Wilson said, Alabama had players on the defensive line who sat on the bench, never becoming known until their junior or senior year.
“The defense will be the strongest part like it is every year,” said Wilson.
“I think our biggest concern is the offensive line, not defense,” said Wilson.
“On our field goal kickers, your guess is as good as mine,” said Wilson. “It’s tough. You go out there and you have one chance to make it right. If you hit it you are a hero, if you miss it you are the goat.”
Wilson again praised Coach Nick Saban and his ability to recruit the right coaching staff as well as the right players.
“One of the best things Coach Saban does is hire some really good people,” said Wilson.
“If somebody says ‘I worked for Coach Saban,’ you can get any job you want to,” said Wilson.
And although he enjoyed playing the game, Wilson said he never considered going into coaching himself.
“I loved football I loved watching football,” said Wilson. “Ass coaches you kind of have to take a step back. I don’t love the coaching life. They are all over the place. I might be in Idaho one year, Oklahoma one year, I figure I might just stay here and be happy.”