Aug. 21, 2015
Excited About the Start of the 2015-16 Calendar
I hope you have had a great summer! After taking some time off to reflect and recharge, I am excited to start my third academic year enjoying the privilege of serving as your Director of Athletics at The University of Alabama.
Since taking on this job in March of 2013, I have been consistently impressed by the commitment of our students, our coaches and our administration – in Athletics and throughout this great institution. This year promises to be an historic one. We are welcoming our new President, Dr. Stuart R. Bell, who returned to The Capstone this summer to succeed our past President, the beloved Dr. Judy Bonner. Throughout my two and a half years in Tuscaloosa I have been blessed to witness the daily accomplishments of our students, both in competition and in the classroom. We truly have a terrific story to tell, and our combination of athletic and academic success is currently at an all-time peak.
While we continue to face many challenges, some old and some new, I am constantly reminded of the great responsibility we have to live up to the tenets of our Mission: To recruit and develop student-athletes to compete at the highest levels in intercollegiate athletics, to educate and prepare our student-athletes to compete at the highest levels in life after graduation, and to accomplish both with honor and integrity. Those are high ideals, but they are attainable. Our terrific young people have constantly reminded us of that over the last 29 months that I have had the honor of being back at the Capstone.
As coaches, staff and administrators at Alabama we are charged not only with maximizing their ability as athletes, but also in helping develop the “total person.” That’s not a new concept, but it has driven our program to become tremendously successful athletically, academically and in the community. I have mentioned before our commitment to being a “total program”. Development of productive citizens who strive to reach their potential in all avenues of life is what defines our Mission. The commitment, work ethic, determination and life lessons they learn here will stay with them well after they have left our campus. If we have honored their commitment by providing the proper support, they will have a much better chance of becoming successful in the game of life.
So I am excited and optimistic as the 2015-16 year begins. We are at a special place at a special time. We are not only riding the momentum of unprecedented success in all sports over the last few years, but also seeking to build on that by providing even greater support for our students, staff and coaches. It’s a challenge that we all embrace, and I know that you will, too.
There’s excitement in the air on campus, with the football team well into preseason camp and ranked among the nation’s top 3 by most pundits, the volleyball team nationally ranked to begin the season, our soccer team primed to begin a new era under first-year head coach Wes Hart, and our men’s and women’s cross country teams ready to start a promising campaign.
I cannot stress enough the difference that your support makes for our program. Your presence at our athletic events, following our team on radio, television, and social media, coupled with your generosity of time, money and passion is what makes Alabama Athletics nationally preeminent. We are all teammates in this effort, and it is a competition that is never-ending. I know I speak for all of our students, coaches and staff in thanking you for that support. This dynamic period of achievement in Athletics has mirrored that of our University as a whole. It is indeed an exciting time to be a part of the Crimson Tide!
The world is right again as Alabama football is back. I don’t know who the starting quarterbacks will be but I do know this is a good looking, well-conditioned, and well-coached team. They have worked very hard in extremely hot and humid conditions. Coach Saban runs the most organized practices I’ve seen, and the amount of work that more than 100 players get at each practice is most impressive. We face one of the more difficult schedules in the country but our team is excited about the challenge.
4 Crimson Tide Legends Earn Spots on Elite Team
Four of our Crimson Tide football greats – first-team selections John Hannah and Derrick Thomas, along with third-team picks Barrett Jones and Lee Roy Jordan – have been selected as part of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) 75th Anniversary All-America Team, announced Thursday. Founded in 1941, the FWAA has picked an annual All-America team since 1944 and created this prestigious list celebrating the association’s All-America teams from near the end of World War II through the 2014 season. Only three schools (Ohio State with six, Nebraska and Pittsburgh with five each) had more players on the 75-man team than the Crimson Tide. A nomination ballot with selected players from all FWAA All-America teams was sent to the entire FWAA membership during the spring, and a popular vote was then taken into consideration by a committee of FWAA past presidents, current board members and officers during the summer. That committee completed the selection of the team. For a player to be considered for the team, he had to be on a previous FWAA All-America team.
Big John Hannah was a 1972 FWAA All-America team who has been rated by many as the greatest offensive lineman of all time. In that same year, he earned the Jacobs Trophy as the SEC’s best blocker. John is enshrined as a member of both the college and pro football halls of fame. The late great Derrick Thomas was a 1988 FWAA All-American, earning the Butkus Award that year when he collected 27 quarterback sacks. Derrick set records that have stood the test of time. His single-game, season and career records for sacks still stand after more than 25 years. Barrett Jones was a two-time first-team FWAA All-American, earning the honor at left tackle in 2011 and then at center in 2012, in addition to being a key player on three national championship teams. Barrett carved a unique niche in our history when he became Alabama’s only William V. Campbell Trophy winner for his academic excellence and also earning the Wuerffel Trophy for his community service efforts. Legendary Lee Roy Jordan was a first-team All-American in 1962, the MVP of the 1963 Orange Bowl (in which he notched an incredible 31 total tackles in Alabama’s 17-0 win over Oklahoma), was voted Alabama’s Player of the Decade for the 1960s earned a spot on the Tide’s Team of the Century in 1992.
Wisconsin Game Tickets Still Available
As you know, our 2015 football season is fast approaching. We kickoff the slate on September 5 in Arlington, Texas, against Wisconsin at 7 p.m. Central Time in the AdvoCare Classic at AT&T Stadium. Our fans have done their usual tremendous job of showing their support by buying more than 20,000 tickets so far. Earlier today, we were told that there are plenty of tickets still available for purchase. So, if you missed out on buying from the official Alabama allotment, you can still go to the game! Upper deck seats are available for $95 each, and can be purchased through TicketMaster or the AT&T Stadium Ticket Office by calling 817-892-5000 or going online at www.ticketmaster.com.
NFL Bag Policy in Effect for Wisconsin Game
As a National Football League (NFL) venue, AT&T Stadium requires that all fans entering the facility abide by the NFL’s bag policy. Please be sure to know that prohibited bags include, but are not limited to, the following: all purses, bags or containers larger than a small clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, luggage of any kind, computer bags, camera bags, binocular cases (binoculars may be worn around the neck), diaper bags and seat cushions. Stadium approved bags/purses must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and cannot exceed 12 inches x 6 inches x 12 inches in size. Small, one-compartment clutch bags that do not exceed 8½” by 5½” with or without a handle or strap are also permitted. All bags are subject to inspection upon entry and are subject to addition inspections within the stadium. Exceptions will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection within the stadium. Please learn more via this link.
Men’s Basketball Excitement
Our new head men’s basketball coach, Avery Johnson, has created excitement and anticipation in only a couple of months on the job. As you probably know, we are working with Avery on a new seating plan for Coleman Coliseum with the goal of creating the finest home court advantage in America. These changes are aimed at getting our student body more involved in our games. A study we undertook revealed that Alabama was one of the only schools in the SEC lacking a large number of available seats for students in close proximity to the court. This new plan calls for the current student section (located on the baseline toward the visiting team bench in sections V, W and X) to be moved to the first two sections across from the visiting bench (sections R and S) and wrap around the Northeast corner (sections T, U and V) of the arena. This will relocate our students closer to the playing floor, enabling them to have more impact and help create an exciting home court environment. Please learn more here.
The 2015-16 schedule has been completed and we are excited that the Crimson Tide is set to make the program’s first appearance in the ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon when it plays at Dayton on Tuesday, Nov. 17. The Flyers and Crimson Tide will square off at 12 p.m. CT (1 p.m. ET) and the game will be televised on ESPN. We also recently announced that we will face the Oregon Ducks at Legacy Arena in Birmingham on Monday, Dec. 21, at a time to be determined. The game will mark our first appearance in Birmingham since facing Oklahoma State in 2011 and will be the first game of a home-and-home series between the teams, with the Tide making a return trip to Eugene, Ore., during the 2016-17 campaign. Our conference schedule will include home-and-home games against Auburn (Jan. 19 at Auburn and Feb. 27 in Tuscaloosa), Kentucky (Jan. 9 in Tuscaloosa and Feb. 23 in Lexington, Ky.), LSU (Jan. 23 in Tuscaloosa and Feb. 17 in Baton Rouge, La.), Mississippi State (Feb. 2 in Starkville, Miss., and Feb. 20 in Tuscaloosa) and South Carolina (Jan. 13 in Tuscaloosa and Jan. 30 in Columbia, S.C.).
We are very proud of senior guard Retin Obasohan, who was recently honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) as a member of its 2014-15 Honors Court. To be named to the Honors Court, a student-athlete must meet a high standard of academic criteria, including achieving a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.2 at the conclusion of the 2014-15 academic year, and being either a junior or senior academically, among several criteria. Retin earned his undergraduate degree in Finance this past May with a 3.28 cumulative grade point average and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in marketing, which he is expected to obtain by May of 2016.
Our first-year head coach, Wes Hart, and the Alabama soccer team are set to open the 2015 campaign tonight as the Crimson Tide travels to Memphis to square off against the Tigers at 7 p.m. CT inside the Mike Rose Soccer Complex. This Sunday evening come out and support our team and Coach Hart in his home debut when we host Troy at 7 p.m. at the Alabama Soccer Complex. The Tide is coming off of a 4-3 victory in its lone exhibition contest of the season last Thursday at Vanderbilt, getting the game-winning goal off a Celia Jimenez penalty kick in the 80th minute.
It was an exciting summer for the women’s basketball team as head coach Kristy Curry welcomed her nationally-ranked freshman class to campus before the entire team packed its bags for a once in a lifetime trip to Italy for 10 days. The tour began in Rome where the team was able to experience such sights as the Vatican and the Colosseum. From there, they traveled north for stops in Florence, Venice and Como. In addition to the educational part of the trip, the team was also able to get a head start on building great team chemistry on the court as they played three games during the tour, first against the Cameroon National Team, then Basket Montecchio Maggiore (an area all-star team) before closing the tour out with a game against a Lithuanian university team. Our young squad came up just short against Cameroon, losing by three points, but responded with a lot of balance and aggressiveness while winning the other two games. For more information, including photos from the trip, you can visit the team’s blog. Also, our women’s basketball schedule for the 2015-16 season was finalized with the announcement of the SEC slate. We are excited about the upcoming year and I know the coaches and staff are pleased with the way the schedule fell into place. Fans will have a chance to see the team in exhibition play once on Nov. 9 before the regular season tips off four days later on Nov. 13 against Alabama A&M. There has been a lot of excitement around this team since Kristy and her staff arrived with our home crowds growing every year, and we would love to see Foster Auditorium even more packed this season to make it one of the toughest places to play in the country!
Swimming & Diving
Kristian Gkolomeev and Anton McKee both had big swims earlier this summer at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia. Anton reached the semifinals of the 100 breaststroke while Kristian reached the finals of the 50 freestyle, taking seventh overall. At the USA Swimming Championships, sophomores Luke Kaliszak and Mia Nonnenberg, as well as junior Bridget Blood, reached the finals of their respective specialties with Luke leading the way with a bronze medal in the 100 backstroke.
Both our men’s and women’s tennis teams were named ITA All-Academic Teams for 2015 as 10 students between the two programs earned individual ITA Scholar-Athlete honors – Men’s: Hayes Brewer, Langford Hills, Danny Kerznerman, Korey Lovett and Becker O’Shaughnessey; Women’s: Aryn Greene, Bennett Dunn, Natalia Maynetto, Danielle Spielmann and Emily Zabor. The ITA All-Academic Team award is earned by any ITA member program that has a cumulative team grade point average of 3.20 or above on a 4.00 scale. Sophomore Korey Lovett of our men’s team has had a huge summer. Korey earned a wild card entry to the singles main draw of the ITA All-American Championships to be held in October by taking the singles title at the ITA Summer National Championships. He also won the singles and doubles titles at the 2015 New Orleans Tennis Fest earlier this month. Senior Natalia Maynetto of the women’s tennis team won the ITA Summer Circuit Singles Title during the last week of July.
Track & Field
Junior Quanesha Burks, the 2015 NCAA outdoor women’s long jump champion, competed for the United States national team at both the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto and the 2015 North American/Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Senior Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica. After a top-10 finish at the Pan Am Games, she jumped a lifetime best of 22 feet, 9 inches, to claim gold in San Jose, breaking her old school record by an entire foot! Also, junior thrower Elias Hakansson, a native of Sweden who was sidelined with an injury all of last season, claimed the hammer throw title at the Swedish national championships in July. The academic accolades continue to pour in for head coach Dan Waters’ program. Our women’s team was honored by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) as an All-Academic Team. Alabama was the only team in the nation to finish with a grade point average above 3.40 while also finishing top 20 at both the NCAA Indoor and NCAA Outdoor Championships this past season. Also, congratulations are in order for senior Nia Barnes who closed out her career by being named to the 2015 Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America Track & Field/Cross Country First Team.
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):
Friday, August 21
|7 p.m. CT||Soccer||at Memphis||Memphis, Tenn.|
Sunday, August 23
|7 p.m. CT||Soccer||Troy||UA Soccer Complex|
Friday, August 28
|7 p.m. CT||Soccer||Wake Forest||UA Soccer Complex|
|7 p.m. PT||Volleyball||at Long Beach State||Long Beach, Calif.|
Saturday, August 29
|11 a.m. PT||Volleyball||at Cal-State Fullerton||Fullerton, Calif.|
Sunday, August 30
|7 p.m. CT||Soccer||at Tennessee Tech||Cookeville, Tenn.|
Where to See, Listen and Follow Alabama Sports
Here’s how to follow Crimson Tide teams via TV, radio, rolltide.com, Twitter and Facebook:
Gametracker: Friday – www.GoTigersGo.com | Sunday – www.RollTide.com
Watch: Friday – www.GoTigersGo.com | Sunday – (SEC Network +)
Radio: Friday – No Broadcast | Sunday – 90.7 (WVUA-FM)
Live Stats: Gametracker via www.RollTide.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)
Friday, August 21
|8 p.m.||REPLAY: 2014 Football vs. West Virginia||SEC Network|
Saturday, August 22
|11 a.m.||REPLAY: 2014 Football vs. Mississippi State||SEC Network|
Sunday, August 23
|11 a.m.||REPLAY: 2014 Football at Arkansas||SEC Network|
|5 p.m.||REPLAY: 2014 Football vs. Auburn||SEC Network|
|7 p.m.||Soccer vs. Troy||SEC Network +|
Monday, August 24
|2 a.m.||REPLAY: 2014 Football at LSU||SEC Network|
|11 a.m.||REPLAY: 2014 Football at Ole Miss||SEC Network|
|7 p.m.||2015 Alabama Football Preview||SEC Network|
|9 p.m.||Re-Air: 2015 Alabama Football Preview||SEC Network|
|11 p.m.||Re-Air: 2015 Alabama Football Preview||SEC Network|
Tuesday, August 25
|3 a.m.||Re-Air: 2015 Alabama Football Preview||SEC Network|
|7 a.m.||Re-Air: 2015 Alabama Football Preview||SEC Network|
|9 a.m.||Re-Air: 2015 Alabama Football Preview||SEC Network|
|1 p.m.||Re-Air: 2015 Alabama Football Preview||SEC Network|
Wednesday, August 26
|4 a.m.||REPLAY: 2012 Football vs. Texas A&M||SEC Network|
Friday, August 28
|7 p.m.||Soccer vs. Wake Forest||SEC Network +|
Saturday, August 29
|4 a.m.||REPLAY: 1982 Football vs. Auburn||SEC Network|
Sunday, August 30
|6 a.m.||Re-Air: 2015 Alabama Football Preview||SEC Network|
|2 p.m.||Re-Air: 2015 Alabama Football Preview||SEC Network|
Monday, August 31
|8 p.m.||REPLAY: 2014 SEC Football Championship – Alabama vs. Missouri||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!