Feb. 12, 2014
This year's Football Signing Day was one for the history books! As you know, Coach Saban and his staff signed a recruiting class that is exceptional even by the remarkably high standard already set by the program.
Having lived the reality of recruiting before in my own life, I have a special appreciation for the effort, diligence and perseverance it takes to do well at such a competitive endeavor. But observing up close the attention to detail and hard work that our entire football operation executes in recruiting has opened up an even greater appreciation for me of our staff and our department as a whole.
It takes an organized, cohesive and determined staff to stay on top of things in the modern recruiting cycle. The results bear out what a remarkable job Coach Saban does at leading such an effort. As great a football coach as he is - and he unquestionably ranks among the best ever - Coach Saban might be in a class all his own in recruiting.
The result of this year's football recruiting race is a strong reminder of how truly special this era of Alabama Football is. As we know, it is one thing to get talent on your team and quite another to develop it to a championship level. We are all excited with the new class that has chosen the University of Alabama to continue to pursue their athletic and academic dreams. Several have already enrolled and, along with their new teammates, are working hard to prepare for spring practice and the season ahead through strength and conditioning activities. The rest of the class will come this summer. It is our hope that after the 2016 or 2017 season we will look back and see that this was indeed Alabama's best class ever.
Our Mission calls for us to compete at the highest levels in all of our sports. Every team's goal is to get into post season play. If we can get there, we then have a chance to compete for championships. National rankings are a barometer of where others see our standing within each sport. I am very pleased to report that seven of our spring sports teams are ranked in the Top 25 nationally.
Our men's golf team, led by coach Jay Seawell, is ranked number one in the nation; Coach Sarah Patterson's gymnastics team is No. 5 in this week's rankings after a remarkable comeback win over Georgia last week; Coach Patrick Murphy's softball team is No. 4 in the current rankings after an impressive opening weekend at a tournament at Troy; Coach Mitch Gaspard's baseball team starts the season this weekend with a No. 21 ranking; Coach Mic Potter's women's golf team is currently 10th in the national rankings; Coach Jenny Mainz' women's tennis team is No. 16 in this week's rankings; and Coach Dan Waters' men's track and field team is 11th in the latest coaches' poll.
There could be more teams moving up those rankings, or getting high finishes at national competitions this semester. The strength of our overall program continues to grow.
Student Athletes and Fan Behavior
Every time I read about incidents of bad behavior from student-athletes or fans, I ask our coaches and administrative staff to think through:
- How we can prevent that from happening at Alabama, and
- If it did happen, how would we respond?
We spend a great deal of time during each calendar year educating our student-athletes and staff on compliance, behavioral, leadership, and community service issues. We do our best to prevent bad behavior, but when it does occur, we face it head on and deal with it in a manner that hopefully will prevent it from happening again.
In a word, we want our entire program to operate with "class". And a major part of our program is our fan base. We are fortunate to have very knowledgeable, engaged, and passionate fans. We are also fortunate that they are known throughout the SEC and the country for their passionate support of our teams, and for their classy behavior both in victory and defeat. I want to thank our fans for their strong and generous support and encourage them to continue to build on their image of class.