By Stan J. Griffin: July 1, 2016

University of Alabama student-athletes continue to show out, not only on the athletic fields and courts, but also very much in the classroom as well.
There were 83 UA students on the 2016 Southeastern Conference First-Year Academic Honor Roll, the conference office announced Thursday.
Alabama, South Carolina, Kentucky and Auburn were the only schools with more than 65 honorees.
The women’s swimming and diving, rowing and football programs led Alabama with 13, 12 and 10 honorees, respectively. The Crimson Tide's football (10), gymnastics (6), rowing (12) and women’s swimming and diving (13) teams led their respective sports.
The 2015 SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll is based on grades from the 2015-16 academic calendar year. To earn a place on the honor roll a student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above at the nominating institution, be on scholarship or a letter winner, have completed 24 semester hours of non-remedial credit at the nominating institution and have been a member of the varsity team for the sport's entire NCAA championship segment.
The Tide had 82, 59 and 126 students named to the SEC Fall, Winter and Spring Academic Honor Rolls, respectively, giving Alabama a total of 350 students on the honor roll for the 2015-16 academic year, a jump of 50 honorees from the year before.

By Stan J. Griffin: June 28, 2016

New University of Alabama baseball coach Greg Goff has officially filled in the first piece of the puzzle that will be his very first Crimson Tide coaching staff.
Alabama's 31st coach announced the addition of Jake Wells to his staff on Tuesday afternoon. Wells, a former player under Goff at Montevallo, will serve as the Crimson Tide’s recruiting coordinator while also working closely with the team’s catchers.
He is the first to join Goff’s Alabama staff, bringing a total of nine years of coaching experience to Tuscaloosa.
“I’m really excited that Jake has decided to come be a part of our staff here at Alabama,” said Goff of his first hire. “He has played for me and coached under me, and he is one of the bright young coaches in the country. We are honored to get him on our staff. He is a tireless worker that will put forth a maximum effort each day.”
Wells has previous experience working with catchers, dating back to his two seasons at Mississippi State from 2013-14 where his primary responsibility was to work with the team’s catchers. While in Starkville, Wells tutored two catchers who went on to sign professional contracts and followed up in 2014 by coaching Gavin Collins to All-SEC Freshman Team honors, the program’s first All-SEC freshman catcher in the program’s 124-year history.
He was an integral part of the Mississippi State staff that led the Bulldogs to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, including a finalist finish in the 2013 College World Series.
Most recently, Wells spent the past two seasons at Louisiana Tech as the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator for Goff. Under his tutelage, the Bulldogs were able to improve in nearly every hitting statistic from his arrival in 2015 through last season.

By Stan J. Griffin: June 28, 2016

Although former University of Alabama basketball standout Retin Obasohan did not hear his name called in last Thursday's National Basketball Association Draft, the Belgium native and former All-Southeastern Conference guard will still have the opportunity to land on an NBA roster.
And another former Crimson Tide teammate of his will have that same golden opportunity.
Obasohan and Levi Randolph have each signed to compete in the 2016 Las Vegas NBA Summer League.
Obasohan will play for the Sacramento Kings, while Randolph, who excelled on the court and in the classroom while at Alabama like Obasohan, will compete for the Memphis Grizzlies in the event that will feature a total of 24 teams and 67 games.
The 11-day showcase of top young NBA talent will run from Friday, July 8 through Monday, July 18 at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
Randolph and the Grizzlies will begin play on July 8 when they square off against the NBA Developmental League Select Team at 5:30p.m. CT (3:30 p.m. PT). Meanwhile, Obasohan’s first action will come that same day when the Kings take on the Toronto Raptors at 9 p.m. CT (7 p.m. PT) on NBA TV.

By Stan J. Griffin: June 28, 2016

Four national championships and four Southeastern Conference titles.

A record of 98-12.

Two Heisman Trophy winners.

Six consecutive recruiting titles.

A 50-6 overall record over the last four years.

37 first-team All-Americans

48 players drafted into the National Football League, with 17 of those being first-round selections.

Utilizing any type of measuring standard, those are certainly dazzling numbers for any college football coach, and many of those figures would cement an impressive career legacy for an individual in the coaching profession, even if he elected to never lead another game from the sidelines.
University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban, of course, has achieved those gaudy numbers and many more phenomenal ones in his first nine years of leading the tradition-rich Crimson Tide program, and he, and his legendary “process,” show no signs of slowing down anytime soon, with many analysts forecasting Alabama to win another national title in 2016.
That remains to be seen, but whether you like Saban or despise him, you have to respect the record, and he has unquestionably secured his place in the annals of college football as one of the greatest coaches ever, along with legends such as Paul “Bear” Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Eddie Robinson.
Saban’s Alabama teams have certainly won their share of huge games since his arrival to Tuscaloosa in 2007, and I thought I would take a shot at narrowing down the five greatest Crimson Tide victories during his remarkable UA tenure:

Four national championships and four Southeastern Conference titles. A record of 98-12. Two Heisman Trophy winners. Six consecutive recruiting titles.. A 50-6 overall record over the last four years. 37 first-team All-Americans. 48 players drafted into the National Football League, with 17 of those being first-round selections.

Using any type of measuring standard, those are certainly dazzling numbers for any college football coach, and many of those figures would cement an impressive career legacy for an individual in the coaching profession, even if he elected to never lead another game from the sidelines.

University of Alabama Athletic Director Bill Battle is taking a leave of absence as he undergoes treatment for multiple myeloma, a form of cancer. UA announced on Tuesday, June 21 that Battle has been dealing with the condition “privately” for more than two years. He is expected to be out of the office for a few weeks, but will remain in daily contact with senior athletics officials.

The 74-year-old Battle will undergo a stem cell transplant at Emory University in Atlanta. In a statement, UA said Battle “is in excellent health and his condition is not considered life-threatening.” Dr. Sagar Lonial, who is supervising the transplant, said Battle’s disease is in “a good partial remission,” adding that the stem cell procedure is the “next step” of treatment. “We anticipate his response and outcome will be outstanding and I fully expect to see him back on the sidelines in the fall, cheering Alabama on.”

"In the spring of 2014, I was diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer," Battle said. "Subsequent to that diagnosis my wife, Mary, and I visited with doctors at The University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center; University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas; the Lewis and Faye Manderson Cancer Center at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa; and the Winship Cancer Institute to determine the best treatment options. I am very comfortable with the diagnosis and treatment plan. I am looking forward to getting this behind me and continuing my active lifestyle, as well as continuing to lead our Athletics Department. My experience has made it clear to me that cancer can be a treatable disease that can be dealt with while maintaining a high quality of life."

“This is a great example of early detection as the result of regular medical check-ups,” said University of Alabama President Dr. Stuart Bell. “We are glad he is undergoing this, being thorough and following the best medical recommendations.”

In August of 2015, Battle began the first of three courses of chemotherapy at Manderson Cancer Center in Tuscaloosa under the care of Dr. David Hinton. That treatment put the cancer into what is presently described by his doctors as a good partial remission.

By Stan J. Griffin: June 18, 2016

Photo by Stan J. Griffin

Calling it his "dream job," Greg Goff was introduced as the 31st coach of the University of Alabama baseball program on Friday.
At a .525 Club room at Sewell-Thomas Stadium packed with family members, various UA boosters and officials and fellow Crimson Tide coaches Patrick Murphy, Kristy Curry and Avery Johnson among others, Goff officially replaced the departed Mitch Gaspard as the new UA coach after spending the last two seasons at Louisiana Tech University.
“I am thankful to Athletics Director Bill Battle and The University of Alabama for the opportunity to be the head coach of the Crimson Tide,” said an emotional Goff, a native of Jackson, Tenn. “This is a great University and a great baseball program in the nation’s top baseball conference, and I am truly blessed to be here today. I have continued to work hard my entire career so that I could one day coach at one of the nation’s elite programs, and I could not be happier than to be a part of such a storied program."
Before introducing Goff, UA Athletics Director Bill Battle called it a "great day in Alabama baseball history," and noted that during the search to replace Gaspard, he was looking for a candidate that understood the Southeastern Conference and had experience in it, someone who had a passion to coach the tradition-rich Crimson Tide program and also "someone who had a drive to go to Omaha (for the College World Series)."
"Our new coach has head coaching experience at every level, and everywhere he's been he has won," he said.
Upon being introduced, Goff proclaimed that "God is good," and said that it was an unbelievable day for he and his family.
"I am so blessed to be able to be a part of this family and tradition here at the University of Alabama," he said.  "Today culminates a lot of moving, a lot of tears, a lot of relationships, a lot of goodness in people, and it's an honor for me to be a part of this, and to be standing in front of you today. When Coach Battle called and we talked about the Alabama job, I thought I was dreaming. I wouldn't have left Ruston, Louisiana if it wasn't my dream job."
He also took time during his remarks to praise the efforts of his Tide predecessor in Gaspard.
"I want to thank Coach Gaspard and what he's done for this program, and his dedication  and hard work and what he's done for this program, I have the utmost respect for," said Goff. "He's leaving this program in really good shape, and I'm coming into a great place. I feel great about the players that have been here, that are here, and the facilities, I know how hard he worked to make this commitment to this University, and I'm forever indebted to Coach Gaspard and what he's done with that."

By Stan J. Griffin: June 14, 2016

Nick Saban's University of Alabama football team is hardly lacking in talented receivers heading into the 2016 season.
Calvin Ridley, ArDarius Stewart, O.J. Howard, Robert Foster and Cam Sims are just a few of the pass-catching weapons at the disposal of whoever earns the Crimson Tide starting quarterback position.
And now the Tide has secured another deep threat for the near future as well.
On Monday, the Crimson Tide received the commitment of heralded receiver Tyrell Shavers.

By Stan J. Griffin: June 14, 2016

The University of Alabama softball program's 2016 season, the 20th season in the tradition-rich history of Crimson Tide softball, was yet another hugely successful one.
It was another season that included 50 wins, and the Crimson gained NCAA regional and super regional titles, and also made another trip to the Women's College World Series among other significant accomplishments.
And for those feats, UA coach Patrick Murphy and his Alabama brain trust have received a big honor.
Alabama softball’s coaching staff was named the 2016 South Region Coaching Staff of the Year, announced Monday by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).
The 2016 Crimson Tide coaching staff includes Murphy (18th season), Associate Head Coach Alyson Habetz (18th season), Assistant Coach Stephanie VanBrakle (4th season), Volunteer Assistant Coach Adam Arbour (4th season) and Director of Operations Kate Harris (6th season).

College football is becoming more of a lucrative, high-stakes juggernaut on a yearly basis due to increasing revenues brought about by television contracts, apparel deals and the still-new playoff system among other factors. And with the increased exposure of the sport due to the Internet and particularly social media, expectations and pressures for major programs to win, and to win on a Nick Saban-type level are greater than ever.

And this does not usually mean good news for the college coaching fraternity, as it simply is not good enough to win nine or 10 games anymore. Only a certain handful of elite coaches, including Saban, Ohio State's Urban Meyer and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, can be considered totally safe at the current time despite the pressure cooker environments that even they are subjected to on a daily basis.

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.



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