Let's face it: College was a good time. Sure, there's some "fog of war" hanging on some of those memories, and perhaps some of us left school with a new friend called debt, but most people generally look back fondly on their college days.

We may be out in the real world now, but we can still show our school pride. This week, I'm giving a big shout-out to the Crimson Tide -- that's right, big 'Bama, the SEC powerhouse and former home to pigskin greats like Shaun Alexander, Joe Namath, and Cornelius Bennett.

There's more to the University of Alabama than football, though; notable 'Bama grads include former Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, Yankees sportscaster Mel Allen, WNBA star Dominique Canty, NBA forward Antonio McDyess, and To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee (though Lee never actually graduated). US News & World Report ranks the university No. 88 in the nation, and its law school is in the top 50.

But investing is what we're here for, so I've cross-referenced data from Capital IQ and The Motley Fool's new investing community service, CAPS, to come up with a list of some of the highly rated companies that have a University of Alabama grad in a key executive or board position. Without further ado, I give you your Crimson Tide starting lineup:


UA Grad

LTM Stock Performance

CAPS Rating (out of five)

Layne Christensen (NASDAQ:LAYN)

Andrew Schmitt, president and CEO



Medical Properties Trust (NYSE:MPW)

Edward Aldag, co-Founder, chairman, president and CEO




Lawrence Dickinson, CFO



Animal Health International (NASDAQ:AHII)

William Lacey, CFO


Needs more votes!

People's Banctrust (NASDAQ:PBTC)

Don Giardina, CEO


Needs more votes!

Layne is well-positioned
With many CEOs changing ships every few years, acting more like hired guns than long-term managers, it can often be tough to really evaluate a chief executive's long-term success at a company. For Layne Christensen CEO Andrew Schmitt, though, it's a different story. Schmitt has been the CEO of Layne since he joined the company back in 1993. Over the past 10 years of his management, revenue and EBITDA have both grown at an average annual rate of 12%, and the company has more than tripled in size on the top line.

This growth hasn't been without its bumps. The company hit tough times in 2000 and 2001, putting profits underwater and sending the stock to all-time lows. But investors who have stuck with Layne throughout Schmitt's tenure have been rewarded with 13.5% average annual returns.

There are four segments to Layne's business: water-related services, mineral exploration drilling, energy services, and geoconstruction. The bulk of Layne's business comes from water services, where the company offers turn-key services for groundwater well drilling, water treatment, and maintenance. The division is the company's lowest-margin business, with 7% pre-tax margins, but it is a very fragmented industry, and Layne is keeping itself positioned as a dominant player. In 2005, Layne acquired Reynolds, Inc., a privately held supplier of water and wastewater products and services, which contributed the bulk of the division's 84% revenue growth for the first nine months of 2006.

Many experts predict that water will follow oil as the next worldwide crisis. Population expansion in the U.S. and the ongoing need for water (which doesn't exactly have an alternative-energy equivalent) should give Layne at least a stable baseline of demand going forward. Despite its seemingly spectacular growth over the past year thanks to the acquisition, Layne will probably not be a three-bagger in the next two years. But it does have a long-term track record of producing solid returns for its shareholders.

Then there's the rest
Of course, only the stocks CAPS players have been kind to are mentioned above. A discussion of 'Bama grads on the stock market wouldn't be complete without a mention of Inside Value pick Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO). Coke's CFO, Gary Fayard, was a University of Alabama graduate who spent 19 years at Ernst & Young before joining Coke as a controller in 1994. After setting the world on fire during the '80s and '90s, Coke has been a very boring stock to hold over the past 10 years. However, the company does still count Warren Buffett as a major shareholder.

Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE) is another company that bears mentioning here. Intercontinental's president and COO, Charles Vice, got his mechanical engineering B.S. at 'Bama. The stock has been given just three stars by the CAPS community, but this could be partially because of its amazing 230% run over the past 12 months.

Are you still reading this? Go ahead -- click on over to CAPS and let 21,000 registered players know what you think about these stocks, or any of the nearly 4,000 other stocks on CAPS.

More CAPS madness:

Coca-Cola is one. What are the others? Find out which stocks have made the cut at Motley Fool Inside Value with a 30-day free trial of the newsletter.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer encourages feedback, predictions on next fall's college football season, and suggestions on which school to explore next. He does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy has a Ph.D. in keeping you in the know.