Alabama, Oklahoma Men's Hoops Programs Provide Tornado Relief Donation

Nov. 7, 2013


DALLAS - The Alabama and Oklahoma men's basketball programs will each make a $10,000 donation to the United Way of Norman, Okla., as part of an effort to provide continued support in the wake of the devastating tornado that leveled parts of Moore, Okla., earlier this year.

The $20,000 donation will be formally announced when the two teams meet at half court prior to Friday night's contest to give the check to a United Way representative. The Sooners and Crimson Tide will play at 4 p.m. CT on Friday in Dallas in the opening game of the Buckets and Boots Showcase.

When this game was first arranged back in June - the first game of a tripleheader to signify the start of the college basketball season - Alabama head coach Anthony Grant offered to donate a portion of Alabama's event proceeds to OU's charity of choice for tornado relief.

Grant witnessed first-hand the devastation from an EF4 tornado that hit the University of Alabama just two years earlier, one of 358 in a four-day April tornado outbreak that was unprecedented in U.S. history. That tornado's path stretched 80 miles across Alabama, and after hitting Tuscaloosa continued into parts of Birmingham, leaving behind 64 dead, including six Alabama students, and more than $2 billion in property damage. Immediately after the April 2011 storms, Grant established the "Sweet Home Fund" for tornado relief, providing assistance for those who had lost their homes.                                                                                                                             

On May 20, 2013, an EF5 tornado ripped through Moore and surrounding areas, killing 23 people and injuring nearly 400. The tornado was 1.3 miles wide and its peak winds were estimated at 210 miles per hour. Its path tore apart schools, homes, businesses and communities, leaving a ravaged area behind. 

Once notified of the Crimson Tide's intention to make the donation at the Buckets and Boots Showcase, Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger and the OU athletics department identified the United Way of Norman as the recipient, which the Sooners had worked closely with after this year's Oklahoma twister. Then Kruger took it one step further, and got the Sooners to match Bama's generous donation.

To date, more than $15.6 million has been donated or pledged through the United Way of Norman. Many of the funds have gone to support mental health and trauma counseling for adults and children, debriefing for first responders, restoration of treatment space used for youth counseling, as well as numerous other immediate needs.

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