An Etowah County High grad who liked to wear a Lineville High cap while an Alabama student, he chuckled and said that it was probably great if he wanted to be a coach, although probably not so good for his development as a quarterback.
When Kitchens was at Alabama during 1993-97, he was a fun guy who didn’t mind giving an answer that maybe was a bit too honest for his coaches’ liking. It was hard to find anybody who wrote about Crimson Tide football who didn’t genuinely like Kitchens.
He arrived on campus just after Alabama had won a national championship and said he wanted to play so badly, he would center the ball, if that’s what the Crimson Tide coaches wanted. He wound up having started for nearly three seasons, and while he never had to center the ball, he finished his career without having won a championship. It’s a shame a guy like Kitchens didn’t snag one.
Fortunately, he did become a coach, and when he was running backs coach for North Texas and was about to play Alabama, he showed he hadn’t lost his sense of humor. When a reporter joked he wanted to talk to Kitchens about how he would be the Crimson Tide’s head coach in 2020, Kitchens joked back, “No, it’s going to be 2015.” After a good laugh, he continued, “You probably better not put that in the paper this week. Imagine what I’ll hear if you do.”
It’s good for reporters, players and fans that Kitchens still is in the game. At 38, he is coaching quarterbacks for the Arizona Cardinals.
And by the grace of God, he still is able to do so, even after suffering a heart attack nearly two months ago. Fortunately again, he had the attack at the Cardinals’ facility and was treated in time before he died.
What incredibly good timing for Kitchens, a guy who deserved it.
Contact Anniston Star Sports Editor Mark Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.