Dec. 24, 2013
The holiday season is always a great time to look back at the year just passed while casting an optimistic eye to the future. As all of us at Alabama Athletics look forward to the New Year, there is plenty to be excited about.
We have just completed a very successful fall semester. While our outstanding football team deservedly garners much of the high-profile national attention, it's worth noting that we continue to raise the level or performance in all of our sports.
Our women's volleyball team just completed its most successful season in more than a decade, earning an NCAA Tournament appearance and compiling 24 victories. Our women's cross country team posted its highest finish in 27 years at the NCAA South Region meet. Our football team not only ranked number one on the field virtually the entire regular season, but also leads the nation in graduates playing in a bowl game for the second time in the last five years.
The Tide will play in a bowl game for the 61st time in school history and will make a record 14th appearance in the Sugar Bowl. It is our 10th consecutive season to earn a bowl appearance. We certainly look forward to the challenge of playing highly ranked Oklahoma in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2.
Over the course of 2013, we added to our championship tally when the men's and women's golf teams earned Southeastern Conference titles. Then in May, Coach Jay Seawell's team earned our first NCAA Men's Golf Championship.
Those teams were not alone in their success. Starting last winter and spring, our gymnastics, softball and women's golf teams followed up NCAA Championship seasons in 2012 with top 10 national showings, finishing third, 10th and seventh, respectively. Our men's track and field team closed out the season just a half point out of the top 10 in 11th place at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, our highest finish in more than a decade.
While we're certainly competing at the highest level with eight national team titles over the last four years that success isn't limited to athletics. Our student-athletes have earned impressive marks in the NCAA's Academic Progress Report and Graduation Success Rate, ranking fifth nationally in terms of Academic All-America honors since 2000, just behind Stanford and well ahead of every other school in the SEC.
Due to the excellence of our student-athletes and coaches, Alabama is setting a standard from academic awards to all-Americans to coaching distinctions to community involvement. Our Athletics Department works hard to win championships on and off the field in pursuit 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
- To accomplish all this with honor and integrity
It's been quite a year for me, taking the reins of the department in March and getting up to speed in a new role. I am energized and excited by where we are as a department and looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that will arise in 2014.
Happy Holidays, Happy New Year and Roll Tide!
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