Dec. 15, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Despite a lifetime of philanthropic giving to a variety of causes, James M. Fail never felt the desire to have anything actually named in his honor. "After all," he says, "who would want anything with the name `Fail' on it?"
In ceremonies Monday morning at Bryant-Denny Stadium, his question was finally answered. Made possible by Fail's generous gift to the Crimson Tide Foundation, the Visitors' Locker Room was officially named "The Fail Room."
"This naming opportunity came at Mr. Fail's request," said Mal Moore, Director of Athletics. "Mr. Fail has been such a strong supporter of ours and had already made a significant gift to name our media suite in memory of his late father-in-law, former Birmingham Post-Herald sports editor Naylor Stone. But he had always been hesitant to use his unique name for a naming right until the right opportunity came along."
Fail, a native of Mobile, graduated from the University of Alabama in 1949 after a three-year stint in the U.S. Navy. Following his graduation, he began his storied career in the investment, mortgage, banking, savings and loan, and insurance fields. Mr. Fail continues to serve as the chairman of Stone Holdings, Inc., and Bluebonnet Savings Bank as well as various positions within the family of the Stone Holdings companies.
Fail credits the University for his success in the business world.
"Anything I've done would not have been possible without the University of Alabama," he said. "But not so much from a `making money' standpoint. At the University, I learned how to learn. I learned discipline and how to apply what I learned to the real world. Now, many years later, I am honored to give back to the school that means so much to me. Earlier this year, when I saw the visitors' locker room as a potential naming right, I figured it was the most appropriate opportunity I would ever have to use my name."
Fail's loyalty and dedication has made a lasting impression on Moore.
"Over the years, we've developed a special relationship with Mr. Fail," he said. "What a joy he has been to work with and get to know. We've all been energized by being around him, his approach to life, his generosity, and his excitement for life. Needless to say, his most recent gift - and the way he chose to use it - will be remembered for many years to come."