Oct. 2, 2015
A Big Game Weekend Awaits
This Saturday presents a great opportunity for our football team as we head to Athens for another SEC contest against the Georgia Bulldogs. While playing on the road is a challenge, our players and coaches are excited about facing a very good Georgia team. Playing “between the hedges” is a thrill that will be good for our players to experience. Weather conditions are not looking so good, but playing in the rain can be a lot of fun for the players.
We only get to play Georgia in the rotation cycle against eastern division opponents once every few years. I know our fans have been excited about going there and I hope they will come ready for the weather and give our team a lift with their constant enthusiastic support. We’ll be outnumbered, fan-wise, but our people can hold their own against much larger numbers. I marvel at how many fans show up at our hotel in so many cities, or at the stadium when our team arrives. It truly does bring comfort to the team knowing that the support is so strong.
Alabama leads the all-time series with Georgia, 37-25-4. When I was in school, we played Georgia all three years. In 1960, in Birmingham, Wally Butts was the Georgia coach and Alabama won, 21-6. In 1961, Johnny Griffith was coaching the Bulldogs and Alabama won in Athens, 32-6, which launched our team to Coach Bryant’s first national championship. In 1962, Alabama won again in Birmingham, 35-0. History doesn’t play a role in this game, but tradition helps, and our fan support is a huge part of our tradition. We hope to see a lot of crimson as we take on the Dawgs between the hedges on Saturday afternoon.
A Special Event for Our Female Student-Athletes
This past Monday evening, our Life Skills program hosted the BRAG! Event with Peggy Klaus for our female student-athletes. Approximately 90 professional women from around the Tuscaloosa community participated with over 175 student-athletes. Chief among the goals of this initiative were 1) Provide young women with the foundation, skills and confidence to speak with others about their talents and skills; 2) Begin relationships with talented, professional women in the community whom our student-athletes can relate to and aspire to be like in the very near future;; 3) Connect with female leaders in the community whom may be interested in serving as future mentors for student-athletes.
This was a tremendous event. I was very impressed with what was learned in a quick two hours about teaching how valuable body language and effective communication is in effectively communicating. The seminar would be beneficial to anyone in any facet of life. My congratulations to Sr. Associate Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator Marie Robbins, Director of Student-Athlete Enhancement Jessie Gardner, Sherry Selby, Kate Harris, and all who had a hand in putting it on.
Ryan Kelly Is Campbell Trophy Semifinalist
Congratulation to senior center Ryan Kelly of the Crimson Tide football team, who was selected as a semifinalist for the 2015 William V. Campbell Trophy! Presented by the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Football Hall of Fame, the Campbell Trophy recognizes the best football scholar-athlete in the nation. Ryan is one of 56 semifinalists for the trophy presented by Fidelity Investments in the FBS division. As you recall, former All-American lineman Barrett Jones won the Campbell Trophy in 2012.
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first-team player or a significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.
A standout in the classroom, Ryan graduated in the summer of 2014 with his undergraduate degree in marketing and is currently working towards his master’s degree in the same specialization, which he is scheduled to receive this December. During his undergraduate career, Ryan was named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll three times, the SEC Freshman Honor Roll and the Dean’s List in both semesters of 2013. He currently holds a 3.75 grade point average in graduate school after finishing his undergraduate coursework with a 3.298 cumulative GPA.
The NFF will announce 15 finalists on October 29, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 8, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. At the event, one member of the class will be declared the winner of the 26th William V. Campbell Trophy and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
We are very proud of Ryan and all that he represents about the student-athlete experience at Alabama!
Graduation: A Crucial Part of The Mission
We’re already approaching the midway point of the fall academic calendar. As we move into October, I wanted to let you know a few things that don’t receive anything close to the notoriety they should.
Overall during the 2014-15 academic year (from the Fall 2014 semester through the summer 2015 term), our more than 550 student-athletes averaged better than a 3.0 grade point average, including 41 who maintain a career GPA of 4.0. Between the fall and spring semesters student-athletes earned a place on the President’s List (4.0 GPA) 128 times and on the Dean’s List (3.5-3.99 GPA) 262 times. Five or our athletics teams posted cumulative GPAs above 3.5 for the year, marking the fifth year in a row that at least five teams have met that standard, while 12 of 17 programs earned GPAs over 3.0 for the academic year.
More than 140 student-athletes earned their degrees during the 2014-15 academic year, encompassing the December, May and August graduations. The latest numbers find that we graduate 71 percent of our student-athletes, a rate that exceeds that of the general student population graduates (66 percent).
Our football team featured 22 players who already had degrees in hand when they took the field for the 2015 Allstate Sugar Bowl, including seven who had earned master’s degrees, a total that tied for the best in the nation. One year earlier, a nation’s-best 28 graduates were listed on Alabama’s roster when the Crimson Tide took the field for the 2014 Allstate Sugar Bowl, while the Tide set the BCS National Championship Game record in 2011 with 22 graduates.
Altogether, the Crimson Tide’s last three national football championship teams (2009, 2011 and 2012) featured 60 players who had earned their degrees before the BCS Championship Game even began. Over the seven seasons spanning 2008-14, Alabama has seen 131 degrees earned (graduate and undergraduate) by players still suiting up for the Tide after their graduation.
This week included a milestone moment for Coach Dan Waters’ women’s cross country team as the Tide is ranked No. 29 in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Coaches Poll, the first national ranking for the program since 1995. On Tuesday, redshirt freshman Rachael Reddy was named the SEC Women’s Freshman Runner of the Week after winning the individual title at the Cowboy Jamboree at Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla. The honor is Rachel’s third award from the conference already this season, as she was named Women’s Freshman Runner and Runner of the Week back on Sept. 8. The men’s team continues to show improvement as well, currently ranking 11th in the South Region after starting the season without a regional ranking.
First-year Coach Wes Hart’s soccer team lost a tough one to eighth-ranked Auburn last night (Thurs., Oct. 1), a 2-1 double-overtime loss in a nationally-televised contest at the Alabama Soccer Complex. The Crimson Tide entered the Auburn match off a pair of tough SEC road matches last weekend. A 3-2 loss at Ole Miss on Friday, Sept. 25, and a 3-0 loss at nationally-ranked South Carolina on Sunday, Sept. 27. Junior transfer Celia Jimenez has been a staple of the Tide’s lineup after transferring from Iowa State Community College last spring, as she is one of only two players on the Tide (the other being Abby Lutzenkirchen) to start all 12 games to begin the season. Celia leads the team in points (nine) and goals (four), and has collected the game-winning goal in two victories.
Our softball team begins its fall season this weekend as the Tide travels to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to take on Middle Tennessee in a doubleheader on Sunday, Oct. 4, starting at 11:30 a.m. CT. In addition to the action on the field, the weekend will provide the team with an opportunity to meet out-of-town alumni and fans. The 2016 Tide returns 12 players from last season joining seven newcomers, the largest incoming class since 2006. Only twice in the 20-year history of the program has softball welcomed a larger group of newcomers. Fans in Tuscaloosa will have three opportunities to see Alabama play at Rhoads Stadium in October. On Oct. 17, the Tide plays Western Kentucky at 11 a.m. and Mobile at 3 p.m. with the two visiting teams playing each other at 1 p.m. The following day, Alabama hosts West Alabama for a doubleheader starting at 1:30 p.m. CT and the Tide concludes the fall season on Oct. 25 with a doubleheader against Shorter College slated to begin at 1:30 p.m. CT.
Coach Ed Allen’s team is coming off a three-set victory against Alabama State on Tuesday night where the Crimson Tide put together one of its best offensive performances of the season. With the SEC season right around the corner, our team is starting to click at the right time as the last five matches have been a great improvement over the first three weeks of the season. The team will see its first road test of the conference season this weekend, playing at Tennessee tonight at 6 p.m. CT and at Kentucky on Sunday, Oct. 4 at 12:30 p.m. CT. Senior Sierra Wilson and redshirt junior Krystal Rivers were among the Academic All-Americans honored at halftime of last weekend’s football game against ULM. The pair were the Tide’s first Academic All-Americans since 2001 and were the first teammates to earn the award in the same season. They matched their excellence off the court with All-American accolades on the court as well in 2014, becoming the first Alabama players to win both awards in the same season. It’s no surprise that the two were chosen as team captains this season, as they provide an excellent example for the rest of the team on what it truly means to be a student-athlete. Our next home match is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 11, vs. Missouri at 4 p.m. CT on The SEC Network. If you’re attending the Oct. 10 Alabama vs. Arkansas football game, admission to Sunday’s match against Missouri is free with a football ticket. A packed Foster Auditorium provides one of the best home court advantages in the SEC so we’d love to see all of you there.
Coach Jay Seawell’s 16th-ranked Alabama men’s golf team will host the 30th annual Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate (JPNI) on Monday-Tuesday, Oct. 5-6, at Old Overton Golf Course in Birmingham. The Tide has won the JPNI team title three consecutive years heading into the event, and seven of the last nine years. Last week, junior Robby Shelton claimed medalist honors at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Collegiate Challenge Cup, held Sept. 25-26 in Nashville, Tenn. Robby fired an 8-under par 205 over the 54-hole event to capture a three-stroke win over Florida State’s Hank Lebioda (208), finishing the 54-hole tournament with 15 birdies and 34 pars. Robby’s victory marked the fourth of his standout career, which ties him for fourth-most in our history. As a team, the Crimson Tide finished ninth overall in the 12-team field with a team total of 872.
Coach Mic Potter’s women’s golf team already has one title this fall after capturing the Mason Rudolph Championship in Franklin, Tenn., on Sept. 20 when the team shot a 16-under 848, the fourth-best 54-hole team score in program history. Sophomore Lakareber Abe claimed the individual title at the Mason Rudolph as well – her first collegiate victory – while freshman Cheyenne Knight finished under par in the first event of her career.
Coach George Husack’s men’s tennis team hosted the Crimson Tide Four-In-The Fall last weekend at the Alabama Tennis Stadium, an individual event that featured numerous nationally ranked opponents from Notre Dame, South Florida, Columbia and Memphis. Four Crimson Tide individuals and one doubles team turned in undefeated records over the course of the three-day event as senior Becker O’Shaughnessey, junior Nikko Madregallejo, sophomore Korey Lovett, and freshman Mazen Osama turned in perfect 3-0 singles records. Hayes Brewer and Langford Hills teamed up to go 3-0 in doubles. Korey Lovett, who enters the season ranked as the No. 96 singles player in the nation, defeated a pair of nationally-ranked opponents over the weekend including No. 5 Quentin Monaghan of Notre Dame and No. 52 Sasha Gozun of South Florida. Coach Husack hosted a tailgate early on Saturday afternoon for all of the schools and the teams attended the football game together. George was complimentary of the Crimson Racket Club for their help in putting on the tournament, assisting with the event as well as the many University employees who helped make the tournament happen. As George said: “We are blessed to have such great support at this university and the group effort cannot go unnoticed.” Up next, Coach Husack will send three participants to the ITA All American Tournament hosted by Tulsa University. Becker O’Shaughnessey and Mazen Osama leave Saturday for singles qualifiers that start on Monday, while Korey Lovett leaves on Tuesday for the main singles and doubles draws slated to begin Thursday.
Coach Jenny Mainz’s women’s tennis team played at the annual Furman Fall Classic last weekend, winning 11 singles matches over the course of the weekend. The tournament featured six teams that were ranked in the top 61 of last season’s final ITA Collegiate Tennis rankings. All four competing members of the Tide collected a singles victory on Saturday, as newcomers Andie Daniell and Joanna Nena Savva won a pair of matches over players from Vanderbilt and Erin Routliffe knocked off Florida State’s Daneika Borthwick and Natalia Maynetto topped Iowa’s Montana Crawford. Junior Joanna Nena Savva led the Tide with four victories over the course of the event.
Swimming and Diving
Coach Denny Pursley and the Crimson Tide open their 2015-16 home schedule on Oct. 9 against Auburn. The Alabama-Auburn meet will serve as the season debut for our divers, who did not compete against Delta State in the season opener back on Sept. 11. A new video scoreboard is being installed this week at the Aquatic Center which will bring a new dynamic to our home events. After opening the season on the road in the first competition of the collegiate season on Sept. 11 with a clean sweep of Delta State, the Crimson Tide has been training hard, putting in its base for the 2015-16 season.
Our two-time defending SEC champion gymnastics team has been hard at work preparing for the 2016 season. Official practices began on Sept. 14. The Tide has also been busy in the community, including a Habitat for Humanity work day last Saturday here in Tuscaloosa. Two-time NCAA Elite 89 Award winner Lauren Beers was honored during last week’s UA-ULM football game as one of our 12 student-athletes who earned Academic All-America honors during the 2014-15 academic year. We led the nation in both overall Academic All-Americans and first-team honors in 2014-15. Lauren is also the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s candidate for the 2015 Homecoming Court, with voting for UA students taking place next Tuesday (Oct. 6).
For the second consecutive season, our men’s and women’s basketball programs will open the 2015-16 season with a doubleheader at Coleman Coliseum on Friday, Nov. 13. The women will tip off at 4:30 p.m. CT against Alabama A&M, followed by the men’s season opener vs. Kennesaw State at 7:30 p.m. CT. Coach Avery Johnson, who has coached seven-plus season in the NBA, will make his collegiate coaching debut when the men’s team takes the floor to face the Owls. Men’s basketball season tickets plans for the upcoming 2015-16 season have been announced. All tickets can be purchased online at RollTide.com/Tickets or by calling 1-877-TIDETIX (843-3849). Fans can also purchase tickets in advance at the Athletics Ticket Office, located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum.
The Tide officially begins practice on Monday under the direction of third-year head coach Kristy Curry. We welcome back the majority of our starting lineup from a year ago while adding a nationally-ranked freshman class. For the second consecutive season we will begin the season with a doubleheader featuring our men’s and women’s teams on Friday, Nov. 13. In addition to starting practice, the team begins its second annual Community Caravan this weekend, beginning at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Last year’s caravan included more than 10 events, ranging from visiting with students at the Rise School to welcoming back veterans from their honor flight to Washington, D.C.
Here’s a summary of athletic events over the next several days (times listed are for the location of the event: CT is Central Time, ET is Eastern Time, MT is Mountain Time, PT is Pacific Time):
Saturday, October 3
|2:39 p.m. CT||Football||at Georgia||Athens, Ga.|
Sunday, October 4
|12:30 p.m. ET||Women’s Volleyball||at Kentucky||Lexington, Ky.|
Monday, October 5
|All Day||Men’s Golf||Jerry Pate Intercollegiate||Old Overton Golf Club in Birmingham, Ala.|
Tuesday, October 6
|All Day||Men’s Golf||Jerry Pate Intercollegiate||Old Overton Golf Club in Birmingham, Ala.|
Friday, October 9
|2 p.m.||Swimming & Diving||vs. Auburn||UA Natatorium in Tuscaloosa|
|7 p.m.||Soccer||at Texas A&M||College Station, Texas|
|All Day||Women’s Golf||Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational||Chapel Hill, N.C.|
Where to See, Listen and Follow Alabama Sports
Here’s how to follow Crimson Tide teams via TV, radio, rolltide.com, Twitter and Facebook:
Live Stats: www.rolltide.com
TV: CBS Sports
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (check local listings); (Sirius 84/XM 84); ESPN Radio
Live Stats: www.rolltide.com
Live Stats: Friday – www.aggieathletics.com
Watch: SEC Network +
Radio: Sunday – 90.7 (WVUA-FM)
Swimming & Diving
Live Stats: Sunday – www.ukathletics.com
Catch Alabama Athletics on the SEC Network
Here’s a summary of our athletic events to be televised over the next week on The SEC Network and its platforms. Read this schedule closely as some events can be seen via SEC Network +, which is available online via ESPN3 here. If you can’t make it to our games in person, catch us on radio or TV.
(All times listed are Central Time)
Sunday, October 4
|12:30 p.m.||Volleyball at Kentucky||SEC Network +|
|7 p.m.||REPLAY: Football at Georgia||SEC Network|
|9 p.m.||REPLAY: Soccer at South Carolina||SEC Network +|
Monday, October 5
|12 p.m.||Alabama Football Press Conference||SEC Network|
Tuesday, October 6
|1:30 a.m.||REPLAY: Football at Georgia||SEC Network|
Wednesday, October 37
|11 a.m.||REPLAY: Football at Georgia||SEC Network|
Thursday, October 8
|5 a.m.||Soccer at South Carolina||SEC Network|
Friday, October 9
|12 p.m.||REPLAY: Soccer at South Carolina||SEC Network|
|7 p.m.||Soccer at Texas A&M||SEC Network +|
Our teams need your support, so please plan to attend to do your part! A rising tide lifts all boats and it takes all of us to Keep the Tide Rising!