The Battle Plan

November 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

As we approach this holiday weekend there is so much to be thankful for, it would take a week to write it all down. Good health, family, friends, living in America, and being a part of the University of Alabama and its Department of Athletics. What could be better than that?

Truly Blessed

Mary and I feel truly blessed for the opportunity to serve this great University at this special time in its history and our lives. We are in the midst of amazing people, from the leadership at the top of the University, to our coaches, student athletes, and support staff in the athletic department, to the largest and brightest student body in history, and the best faculty and staff ever. History is being made in academics, athletics, enrollment, and campus beauty every day.

60 and 5

Since the start of the 2009 football season and heading into this Saturday's momentous showdown with Auburn, the fifth-year seniors on this year's Crimson Tide football squad have been part of teams that have compiled an incredible record of 60 wins in 65 games wearing the crimson and white. That is a remarkable record during the most competitive era in the history of the sport.

If there was ever an organization that has accomplished sustained excellence over a long period of time, it's this Alabama team. They are very talented, highly motivated, well prepared, and play with extraordinary team spirit and "oneness". To me the most impressive thing about this run of three national championships in four years is the ability of our teams to fight complacency, entitlement, and loss of focus.

Adversity is much easier to deal with than prosperity. It's easier to get to the top than stay at the top. To me, the difference between champions and the rest of the pack is in the leadership instilled from the coaches. That leadership imparts a mentality in which the standard for success is not judged relative to how they do against their competition, but by what they do every day in every aspect of their lives that leads to the accomplishment of the mission.

Hats off to this team, these coaches, and especially these seniors who have bought into Coach Saban's philosophy and executed it so well both at home and away over the last few years. At this time of year every game gets more important, but they also get more enjoyable, because few get to experience the highs and lows brought about by competing at the highest levels in their sport. This is why players and coaches come to Alabama.

The Iron Bowl

So here we are at an Iron Bowl that features two top five teams and determines which team represents the West Division in next week's SEC Championship game in Atlanta. How special is that!!!

As we play this game Saturday in Jordan Hare Stadium, we congratulate Auburn for its remarkable season. We look forward to a great game played by two great teams, cheered on by two great fan bases. The rivalry is fierce but we know the game will be played cleanly and with class, so that at the end of the day, both teams and fan bases will be proud. I am confident in our coaches, our plan, and our team and can't wait for Saturday to get here.

Off to a Good Start

*New women's basketball coach Kristy Curry garnered her first victory over a very good opponent in her regular season home debut at Alabama on November 21 when the Tide upset previously unbeaten Wisconsin, 70-62, at Foster Auditorium. That was followed up by another victory Monday night over Alabama A&M. Coach Curry and her staff have acclimated well to their new home and they deserve our full support in making Foster Auditorium one of the toughest venues in the sport.

*Coach Anthony Grant's men's basketball team has won three straight heading into a matchup in New York City this Wednesday night against the Duke Blue Devils in the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden. I hope that all of our fans in the Big Apple and surrounding areas will get out to the Garden and fill the New York air with "Roll Tide"!

*Coach Ed Allen's women's volleyball team has its final two regular season matches this week, on the road at Mississippi State on Wednesday night and at LSU on Saturday. The Tide is 23-8 this season and has a chance to tally the most victories in a season in more than 30 years if they can sweep these next two matches. Coach Allen has done an amazing job in turning this program around. I am excited about their post-season possibilities. The NCAA Tournament selections will be announced on Sunday night, Dec. 1, at 8:30 p.m. Central Time. Keep an eye on for updates.

Let's Keep the Tide Rising!

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    The Battle Plan