Mal Moore, Bama's students to thank for Tide's success in all sportsBy Brett Hudson | 04/23/2012 11:10pm
It’s business as usual in Tuscaloosa. As some of you went to your hometowns for one last trip before dead week and finals week, Alabama was winning championships.
Just another day at the office, honey. How was your day?
It’s like Laura Owens with the Tuscaloosa News said, it’s just another national championship trophy for someone to trip over. Sorry, Mr. Tinker, it’s all in good fun.
How could anyone call any city but Tuscaloosa “Titletown?”
Teams you know everything about are living up to and even exceeding the expectations. The football team won two national championships in three years. The men’s basketball team made the NCAA tournament for the first time in six years. The gymnastics team just won back-to-back national championships.
Not to mention the gymnastics team added an individual championship both years, with Geralen Stack-Eaton winning the floor exercise last year and the balance beam this year, and the softball team is continuing its path towards yet another likely Women’s College World Series berth.
Even the teams you don’t hear much about are winning. The women’s tennis team won the Southeastern Conference West Division title last season and is currently ranked No. 11 in the country, and I eagerly await the email that corrects me to tell me they moved up in the rankings while the papers were being printed.
The women’s golf team is always ranked in the top-10. The men’s golf team added an SEC championship while everyone was focusing on the gymnastics national championship.
After my celebration (yes, I celebrated), I couldn’t help but ask: How is it possible? How is it that one school can have success in so many sports simultaneously?
It’s no secret Alabama athletics is fueled financially by football, or at least 99 percent of it. It takes money to win in athletics in any sport. It takes money to buy your team the best equipment to get the edge there. It takes money to fly around the country and get the best recruits for your sport, and it takes money to have the facilities to attract them there.
With only one sport on campus making enough money to support nearly all of the 18 sports on campus, how is this type of widespread success possible?
I think it’s several things. I think the campus helps. For those of you older students, the junior and seniors that have been able to purchase road football tickets and have traveled around the SEC, it is clear to see that Alabama has the best campus in the conference. The Quad dwarfs the Grove at Ole Miss, both in size and overall effectiveness in providing an outdoor hub for students.
Some of it has to be Athletic Director Mal Moore. I realize hiring Mike Price and Mike Shula did not work out well (putting it nicely), but hiring Nick Saban has sent waves of positive energy throughout Alabama athletics.
And the other coaches love it.
Gymnastics coach Sarah Patterson couldn’t wait to “give [Coach Saban] a big hug around the neck.” Softball coach Patrick Murphy references the football program often when talking about the success of his program.
Really, I guess it’s just the Alabama way that helps Alabama do so well in athletics across the board. Roll Tide, right?