April 17, 2014
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -
As the practice day for the 2014 NCAA Gymnastics Championships rolled on Thursday at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center ahead of Friday's semifinals competition, Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson was preparing her team for the challenge of advancing to Saturday's team finals. It is a task that began when the Crimson Tide got off the plane from Los Angeles following the 2013 NCAA Championships, where the Crimson Tide posted its fifth top-3 finish in a row.
While there are still three very important days left in the season, Patterson has already been given an assignment for next year. Starting this September, in addition to preparing her team for the season ahead, Patterson will also be working with a select group dedicated to making collegiate gymnastics as a whole better as part of the NCAA Gymnastics Committee.
"I feel extremely blessed to have spent my entire professional career at the University of Alabama," Patterson said. "I don't think there are many coaches these days that can say that they've only worked at one school. I also count myself very fortunate to continue to be a part of a sport that I truly love. Being a part of the NCAA Committee allows me to do everything I can to make sure our sport continues to grow and thrive."
Patterson, who has led Alabama to six NCAA Championships, including back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012, previously served on the NCAA Gymnastics Committee from 1985-90 and as part of the NCAA Recruiting Committee from 1991-96. She also served on the Southeastern Conference Executive Committee from 1988-91.
While her role with the committee begins next fall, her focus now is on the next three days as the Tide competes for its seventh national championship and third in four years. The Tide will be in Friday's second semifinal session that will begin at 7 p.m., along with defending NCAA Champion Florida, past champions UCLA and Utah as well as Nebraska and Penn State.
The top three teams from the two semifinal sessions will advance to Saturday's Super Six Team Finals, which gets underway at 6 p.m. Tickets information is available at www.gymnasticschamps.com.
Fans can keep up with the Tide via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube by following BamaGymnastics.