UA Head Coaches and Student-Athletes Comment on Wednesday's Tornado

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

April 28, 2011

Below are comments obtained by the University of Alabama Athletics Media Relations Office from UA head coaches and student-athletes regarding Wednesday afternoon’s tornado that struck the heart of the City of Tuscaloosa.

COMMENTS FROM UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS Mal Moore
"While our primary efforts today are at determining the safety and status of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and employees, I want to send to all members of our community our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. As the recovery efforts progress today and through the weekend, I know there are difficult moments ahead. But I want to affirm today our support for our state, our community, and the city of Tuscaloosa."

COMMENTS FROM ALABAMA HEAD COACHES
Nick Saban, Alabama Head Football Coach
"The work that people are doing is appreciated and vital at this time. As important as what is being done is, sometimes just the presence and support while helping someone serves as vital encouragement. Being a part of the University of Alabama team is helping people when they need it. It's not always about just being there on Saturday. A lot of people are doing everything they can to help others. Everyone needs to be patient and understand that communication is a real problem right now. What people are trying to do is very much appreciated and is really helping."

Anthony Grant, Alabama Head Men's Basketball Coach
“My heart goes out to the victims and those impacted by the tornado and devastation. Our thoughts and prayers are with those that suffered loss of life and it is overwhelming to see and try to comprehend the devastation this community has suffered. It is comforting to see and know that there is a large mass of people trying to provide assistance and help anyway they can.”

Sarah Patterson, Alabama Gymnastics Head Coach
“All of our athletes and staff made it through the tornado physically and we are extremely grateful for that. Now we are  just trying to assess  everything else and  help make the best decisions for our ladies. For David and I and our family, Tuscaloosa has been our home for more than 30 years and we feel a deep connection to the University and the West Alabama community. The devastation that this storm brought is widespread and heartbreaking, but I know that the spirit of Tuscaloosa is extremely strong and resilient, and as a community we will move forward together toward a full recovery.”

Mic Potter, Alabama Women’s Golf Head Coach
“It is really hard to comprehend what has happened. You look at Coleman Coliseum and everything looks normal, but you know 500 yards up the street it is complete devastation. Everyone on the team is safe and accounted for and that was our first concern. Our hearts go out to everyone in Tuscaloosa and around the Southeast that were not as lucky. At this point we have to come together as an athletic department, University, community and state in an organized way that will have the greatest positive impact on those affected by this disaster.”

On preparing for the upcoming NCAA East Regional in Daytona Beach, Fla., next weekend
“At this point it is really hard to imagine playing golf. Right now we are in a wait-and-see mode. First, we want to do all we can to help our community. Then the resumption of classes at the University and when they reschedule finals will play a big role. But the NCAA East Regional is going to be played next weekend and we are going to have to find a way to get ready for that in the midst of all that is going on.”

Larry Davis, Alabama Rowing Head Coach
“We feel very fortunate that with the severe weather that came through Tuscaloosa last night, everyone associated with our team came through it ok. We had no injuries, some property loss, but no injuries, which is something we’re very thankful for. Even though we have some things we have to deal with, we feel that we are blessed and stand ready to help those in our community that were not so fortunate as we were.” 

Eric McIlquham, Alabama Swimming & Diving Head Coach
“We are very fortunate that everyone in the Alabama swimming and diving came through this safely. At this point we are standing by, waiting for word from the University on the plan going forward. We are prepared to do whatever we can to help our student-athletes return to their normal routine in these last few days of the semester and to do our part in helping the community recover from the devastation that touched parts of the city.”

Sandy Fowler, Alabama Women’s Track & Field Head Coach
“Right now everyone’s thoughts and prayers are – and need to be – with the Tuscaloosa community. Our team is staying in town this weekend to help and aid in whatever way we can. We need to stay strong, stay close and in touch with each other and family and be positive. Knowing this community and having lived in it, I am certain that we will get through this.”

Harvey Glance, Alabama Men’s Track & Field Head Coach
“Having left town Tuesday, I am in shock by what I have seen on television and online. The only thing I can do is get down on my knees and pray for those impacted by the tornado. From what I am hearing it is very catastrophic and in talking to my team I can hear the shock and fear in their voices. My prayers are out to the people in the city of Tuscaloosa and the state of Alabama. One thing I know is that Alabama is very proud. In moments like this, historically, we’ve all come together. That’s a proud tradition that we carry. We know that things happen for a reason and we’re going to be stronger because of this. Right now all we can do is offer assistance and let those affected by the tragedy know that they are not alone.”

Jay Seawell, Alabama Men’s Golf Head Coach
“First, I thank God that my entire team and my family came through this unscathed. I just got back from one of the hardest hit areas trying to help a family that I know recover what they could of their belongings. I really could not believe what I saw. It was just utter devastation. I have never seen anything like it – it was like a war zone. I hate to see our town go through something like this. However, I know that this city and University will work together to rebuild our community.”

Mitch Gaspard, Alabama Baseball Head Coach
“The devastation is tremendous. You can only imagine what that the tornado has done to our community and all the students here at the University. It’s going to be a long road to recovery, but you can already see the swiftness of everyone in the community coming together and helping one another. People are doing the best they can to pick up the pieces and move forward. This is a major disaster that not only affects the people in Tuscaloosa, but so many families outside the community that have loved ones here.”

Ed Allen, Alabama Volleyball Head Coach
“This is just a horrific event. We’re relieved that our immediate family wasn’t impacted, but we certainly feel the pain of others. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to those that were affected. We look forward to the opportunity to reach out to the community in a great way and help out with the recovery process.”

Wendell Hudson, Alabama Women’s Basketball Head Coach
"Today I went down to the area hit hardest, and it is unbelievable. This is devastating for our community, but all over the place people are working together trying to help in any way possible. Even outside Tuscaloosa, people from athletic departments all over the country have contacted me to see what they can do. No one could have controlled what happened, but it is amazing to see the community come together in a time like this."

Jenny Mainz, Alabama Women’s Tennis Head Coach
“This was a tragic day for the state of Alabama and Tuscaloosa as many lost their lives and their homes. The damage is absolutely devastating. This is a time for the Alabama nation to team together to help rebuild people’s lives, homes and communities. We have a strong foundation in Tuscaloosa, coupled with strong leadership. I’m confident everyone will pull together in rebuilding Tuscaloosa.”

Billy Pate, Alabama Men’s Tennis Head Coach
“Our hearts go out to the many families who have been hurt or lost loved ones in this tragedy. We are extremely grateful that our team’s student-athletes are safe. Clearly, when a disaster like this occurs it puts life in perspective and reminds us that athletics is just a game.”

Patrick Murphy, Alabama Softball Head Coach
"We just want to send our condolences and sympathy to everyone who was affected by the tornado. For us, this community means so much and we decided this wasn’t the right time to play. There are a lot more important things than softball at this time. Now is our time to support those in our community that lost a loved one, lost a house or were in any way affected by this terrible storm. We want to take this opportunity to do what we can to support everyone who has supported us through the years."

Todd Bramble, Alabama Soccer Head Coach
“We’re coming out of a period of disbelief. After we’ve gotten through the priorities of making sure that everyone associated with our program is safe, and thankfully everyone is, now we are standing ready to help out the community in any way that we possibly can.  I know that our athletic department, along with the University at-large, will step up in a big way to get all that done.”


COMMENTS FROM ALABAMA STUDENT-ATHLETES
Football – Alabama junior offensive lineman Barrett Jones
“We are extremely saddened by the loss of lives and homes in Tuscaloosa and the devastation around the state. We will continue to pray for the people who were injured and the families of everyone affected. But we know the University of Alabama and the city of Tuscaloosa will band together and come out stronger on the other side of this tragedy.”

Men’s Basketball – Alabama junior forward JaMychal Green
“Everyone is still shocked at the destruction and loss of life. Those of us who were fortunate to be spared realize how blessed we are and pray for those who have lost loved ones and their homes. At this point all we can do is try to help someone and keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”

Baseball – Alabama junior infielder Jon Kelton
“This is a very tragic situation for the Tuscaloosa community and our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone. We are thankful that everyone on the team is ok, but we know that there are a number of people that have been affected by the tornado. We will reach out to the community and be as supportive as we can be throughout the recovery process.”