NEW ORLEANS — Mike Serio serves up all kinds of sandwiches and New Orleans favorites at his family deli in the CBD. He’s also a huge LSU fan. So when it comes to the University of Alabama, Serio prefers to serve-up some humble pie.
“I’ve got a great Bear Bryant story,” Serio told WGNO.
Paul “Bear” Bryant is the late, legendary coach for the Crimson Tide. On too many Saturdays for LSU fans, Bryant led Alabama to a win over the Tigers.
One year, when Serio was a boy, he watched yet another Tide win at Tiger Stadium. Serio says he was in the front row as Bryant walked by to leave Baton Rouge with the win.
“The worst thing I could say was, ‘Boo, Bear! Boo’!” Serio said.
But as fate would have it, Serio would get a second chance. Years later, he says that he and his brother helped recruit players for LSU. Of course, they tried to steer as many local guys as possible to Baton Rouge.
One year, one of the area’s top players was also being recruited hard by Alabama. In fact, one evening Bryant himself visited the player and his family. Serio got wind of it.
“We got in on the action,” Serio said with a smile.
Sidebar, please. To fully appreciate what follows, you also have to know that Alabama has another big rival in Auburn. At at the time of Serio’s story, Auburn also had another legendary head coach, Shug Jordan.
Back to our story. Serio made his way inside the player’s home and was introduced to Bryant.
“I stuck out my hand to coach Bryant. I said, ‘I’ve always wanted to meet Shug Jordan’,” Serio said.
His comment wasn’t exactly a hit with everyone in the room. But Bryant took it in stride. For more on that, click on the video button at the top of this page and watch the whole story!