Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama Crimson Tide

Infobox college athletics
name = Alabama Crimson Tide

university = University of Alabama
conference = Southeastern Conference
division = Division I
director = Mal Moore
city = Tuscaloosa
state = Alabama
stateabb = AL
teams = 18
stadium = Bryant-Denny Stadium
arena = Coleman Coliseum
mascot = Big Al
nickname = Crimson Tide
fightsong = "Yea Alabama"
color1 = Crimson
color2 = White
hex1 = DC143C
hex2 = FFFFFf
pageurl = http://www.rolltide.com/
pagename = www.rolltide.com

Athletic teams at The University of Alabama are known as the Crimson Tide. The school fields teams in 11 varsity sports in the NCAA's Division I and is a member of the competitive Southeastern Conference (Western Division). The school's athletic teams compete at the highest level, often contending for conference and NCAA titles. Athletic facilities on campus include the 92,138-seat Bryant-Denny Stadium, named after legendary football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and former UA President George Denny, and the 15,043-seat Coleman Coliseum.

Alabama maintains athletic rivalries with Auburn University and University of Tennessee. The rivalry with Auburn is especially heated, as it encompasses all sports. The annual Alabama-Auburn football game is nicknamed the Iron Bowl and is considered by many as the most intense game in all of college football; and second in US sports rivalries only to the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox rivalry in baseball (as stated in both ESPN The Magazine, and Sports Illustrated).

The Alabama-Tennessee game has traditionally been played on the third Saturday of each October, and thus the rivalry title, the "Third Saturday in October." While the rivalry with Tennessee is centered around football for the most part, there is no shortage of acrimony here, especially given the recent history between UT Coach Phil Fulmer and his relationship to the Tide's most recent NCAA probation.

There are also rivalries with Mississippi State University (baseball and basketball), LSU (football), the University of Arkansas (track and field) and the University of Georgia (women's gymnastics).

Football

The Alabama Crimson Tide American football team started in 1892. The program has won 21 Southeastern Conference (SEC) titles and claims 12 NCAA Division I-A National Football Championships: 1925, 1926, 1930, 1934, 1941, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979, and 1992; the university also cites five additional national championship seasons based on NCAA records: 1945, 1962, 1966, 1975, and 1977. [http://www.ncaa.org/library/records/football/football_records_book/2006/2006_d1_football_records_book.pdf] The Division I Football Bowl Subdivision national championship is the subject of debate, as discussed on the NCAA Division I-A National Football Championship page.

:Sources: NCAA Division 1 records, [cite web|url=http://www.ncaa.org/library/records/football/football_records_book/2007/2007_d1_football_records_book.pdf |title=National Poll Champions | publisher= National Collegiate Athlethic Association |date=2007] Alabama season records, [ [http://football.stassen.com/cgi-bin/records/fetch-team.pl?team=Alabama Alabama season records] , football.stassen.com] NCAA Football Power Ratings [ [http://www.jhowell.net/cf/cfindex.htm NCAA Division IA Football Power Ratings] , jhowell.net]

Bowl Games

Perhaps the most telling sign of the University of Alabama's football legacy is its bowl game history. No team in NCAA history has appeared in more (55) or won more (31) bowl games. The Crimson Tide made its 55th bowl appearance on December 30, 2007 in a victory (30-24) against Colorado in the Independence Bowl. The 1926 and 1927 Rose Bowls put the Crimson Tide in the nation's headlines, as they were the first team from the Southern United States to win the Rose Bowl, the "granddaddy" of bowl games.

The football team recently played in its 55th bowl game, more than any other college team (31 wins, 21 losses, and 3 ties), has 17 hall-of-famers, and 91 All-Americans honored 101 times. The first All-American from Alabama was W.T. "Bully" VandeGraaff who made the team in 1915. He later served as an Alabama assistant coach and head coach at Colorado College. In 2007, Alabama defeated Colorado in the Independence Bowl for their 31st bowl win, an NCAA record.

Paul "Bear" Bryant

Coach Paul W. "Bear" Bryant is the name most associated with the Crimson Tide football program. His famous houndstooth hat, and images of him leaning against a goalpost while his players warmed up for a game, are instantly recognizable by football fans everywhere.

It was on December 3, 1957, that Bryant informed his players at Texas A&M University, where he was then coaching, that he would be accepting the position of head football coach at his alma mater, the University of Alabama. "Gentlemen, I've heard Mama calling, and now I'm going home" he was reported to have said. From 1978 to 1980, Bryant led the Tide to 28 straight victories. He had other winning streaks of 19, 17, 12 and 11 victories.

On December 29, 1982, sports history was made and an era ended with Bryant's final game, the Liberty Bowl. It was the same bowl he had taken the Tide to in his first year as head coach, and his final team defeated Illinois 21-15. With 323 career wins, Bryant was the winningest coach in college football history to that point. At Alabama, he tallied to 232 wins, six national championships, and 24 straight bowl appearances.

All-star players

The Crimson Tide is among the elite college football programs, with 20 members enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana. There are 92 Crimson Tide players that are honored 102 times as First Team All-Americans.

Alabama quarterbacks won the first three Super Bowls. Notable former Alabama players include Bart Starr, who was a two-time MVP with the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II; Joe Namath, who was the MVP of Super Bowl III with the New York Jets; Ken Stabler, who was the winning quarterback for the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XI; Bobby Skelton; Pat Trammell; Steve Sloan; Johnny Musso and David Bailey, to name a few. The 1980s brought Walter Lewis, Van Tiffin, Bobby Humphrey, Derrick Thomas, Mike Swafford and Cornelius Bennett. The NFL's 2005 Most Valuable Player, Shaun Alexander, played for the Crimson Tide from 1996-99.

There are currently six former Crimson Tide players enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Only Notre Dame, Southern California and Michigan have sent more of their players to Canton.

Men's basketball

Alabama's men's basketball program has been overshadowed for most of its history by football. However, in recent years, the men's basketball program has risen in stature nationally, achieving a No. 1 national ranking briefly in 2002. UA has become a regular conference basketball contender much as it was in the 80's under the direction of Coach Wimp Sanderson. Under head coach and former point guard Mark Gottfried, the Tide advanced to postseason play for six consecutive years, culminating with the team's advancement into the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history in 2004, where the team lost to eventual champion Connecticut in the Phoenix Regional Final.

In 2005, the program received a minor setback when the team lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to eventual Sweet Sixteen participant Milwaukee, led by now-Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl. In the 2006 NCAA Tournament, Alabama beat Marquette and advanced to the second round where they lost to heavily favored #2 seed UCLA. Heading into the 2006 season, the Ronald Steele-led Tide were ranked as high as #5 in preseason polls, but suffered a loss on the road at Notre Dame early in the season.

Baseball

Alabama also has a winning tradition in baseball. The Crimson Tide is tied with LSU for the most SEC titles with 14 regular season titles. Alabama also leads the conference with 7 SEC Tournament Championships. [cite web | title=2006 Media Guide | url=http://www.rolltide.com/fls/8000/files/baseball/2006/mediaguide/1-29.pdf | accessmonthday=June 21 | accessyear=2006 ] Tide baseball teams have participated in the NCAA College World Series five times (1950, 1983, 1996, 1997, 1999), finishing second in 1983 and 1997. Home games are played at at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Women's gymnastics

UA's women's gymnastics team, like the basketball teams, competes in Coleman Coliseum. Coached by Sarah Patterson, the team regularly competes for the NCAA National Championship, having won the NCAA team title in 1988, 1991, 1996, and most recently in 2002. In addition to those 4 titles, the UA team has placed in the top 5 at the NCAA Women's Gymnastics championship 19 of the past 21 years.

Other sports

In addition to the four major sports on campus, the University of Alabama has had success in a number of other sports.

"Women's Soccer" was a varsity sport from 1986 to 1988, and was revived in 1994. Former Head Coach Don Staley had been with the program since 1994, but stepped down at the end of the 2007 season. He was replaced with former Clemson University head coach Todd Bramble. The team has won the SEC West three times and participated in the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship in 1999. In 2005, senior "Libby Probst" earned third team All America honors and the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year award after breaking almost every major offensive record in her career at "The Capstone."

"Women's Basketball" played its first game in 1974 and has been a varsity sport ever since. The team has had eight head coaches, including Rick Moody, who guided the club to the 1994 NCAA Women's Final Four. Wendell Hudson was named head coach on March 15, 2008, replacing Stephany Smith

"Softball" has been successful ever since its introduction at the University of Alabama in 1997. The team has won the SEC Conference Tournament three times (1998, 2003, 2005), the SEC Regular Season Championship in 2006, and have been to the NCAA Softball Championship in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma five times (2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008). Head Coach Patrick Murphy has also served as a coach for the Canadian national team.

"Volleyball" is coached by Judy Green and has been at the University since 1974. Although successful in the 2004 season, finishing with a 21-9 overall record and finishing 2nd in the SEC West, the team still failed to win a place in the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship. However, The Tide has since made three straight post-season appearances, losing in the first round each time.

Additional Sports at the University include tennis, golf, cross country, swimming and diving, track and field, and rowing. The University supports both men's and women's programs in all of these sports except for rowing, which is women's only. The school has had individual success in all of these sports, including Vladislav Polyakov winning national titles in the 200-meter men's breaststroke in 2005 and 2007, and the men's golf program finishing 6th in the nation in 2007 while being consistently ranked in the top three in the 2007-2008 season. The University also has two cheerleading squads (The "Crimson Squad" and "White Squad") and a dance team known as the Crimson Cabaret.

Club sports

The University of Alabama through University Recreation also fields a number of club sports of varying degrees of competitiveness, though most compete only with other teams from the southeastern part of the country. The club sports include crew, cricket, cycling, disc golf, ice hockey, [ [http://www.bamahockey.org Bama Hockey] ] lacrosse, [ [http://www.tidelax.com UA Men's Lacrosse Home] ] racquetball, rugby union, men's soccer, team handball, tennis, triathlon, Ultimate, wheelchair basketball, water polo, water skiing, and wrestling.

Athletic Academics

Alabama consistently fields student-athletes who excel in the classroom as well as on the field. The University of Alabama is tied for fifth in the nation for the number of Academic-All Americans since 2000 from all Universities. Amongst BCS conference schools in this category, Alabama trails only Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Penn State. ref|Baseballmedia

References

External links

* [http://www.rolltide.com/ RollTide.com] - Official Homepage of the University of Alabama Department of Intercollegiate Athletics


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