Coach Danzy Chosen as Grand Marshal for Tuscaloosa Christmas Parade
By Mark Hughes Cobb Staff Writer
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 10:48 p.m.
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Neither of the grand marshals for the 2010 West Alabama Christmas Parade is a stranger to ceremonies.
Alvin P. DuPont, mayor of the city of Tuscaloosa for 24 years, and Theophilus Danzy, who resurrected the Stillman College football program after it had lain idle for 50 years, were chosen by the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority to lead its 35th annual parade.
At a breakfast announcement in the PARA building on Greensboro Avenue, Danzy said he was familiar with the heavy duties of a grand marshal: “A big smile and a big wave.”
This will be DuPont’s 27th or 28th time in the Christmas parade, he said. He has helped pick a few grand marshals before, but has never been one.
“This is kind of a great honor to bestow on people who have served the community,” he said. “It’s very gratifying that people would think I deserve this.”
PARA Recreation Superintendent Gary Minor introduced Danzy, noting that his career was not just about winning games, but also motivating and helping young men to mature. In addition to the Stillman job, Danzy worked with the BETHEL Project at Bethel Baptist Church, tutoring students who want to take the GED. He also coached at Alcorn State, Miles College, the University of Arkansas, Alabama A&M University and other schools.
“Gary Minor made me look like a hero,” Danzy said. One of the benefits of coaching, he said, was having a chance to steer young people in the right direction.
“The biggest thrill I have about coaching is when I see them being productive people in the community,” Danzy said.
In announcing DuPont, PARA communications manager Becky Booker noted that the Louisiana native had served Tuscaloosa for more than five decades, 31 years in the city engineering department, then 24 years as mayor. Though retired, the World War II veteran volunteers with the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, DCH Regional Medical Center and the Children’s Hands-On Museum.
“Volunteerism is one of the things that makes our community great,” Booker said.
Grand marshals are chosen from community and staff nominations, resulting in a pool of people who have served the community in various ways.
“It’s always a big task each year,” she said.
This year’s West Alabama Christmas Parade will be Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m. The parade will begin on Greensboro Avenue at 11th Street, traveling north to University Boulevard, then heading east to the corner of University Boulevard and 19th Avenue. The annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony on the courthouse lawn will start at 5:15 p.m.
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