Golf Championship Means Much To Tide
Sort of like Alabama football. Over the years, the Crimson Tide has been synonymous with excellence, but excellence in football. To be sure there would be appearances by men's basketball in the post season – NCAA or NIT – from time-to-time. The baseball team had much success at the conference level, but had only a few flings on the national stage. On the women's side, gymnastics was an NCAA power, but that's relatively low profile from a national standpoint.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, when Bama sports was men only, Paul Bryant, who was athletics director along with being head football coach, the Crimson Tide made an effort for overall excellence. The motive was Richmond Flowers, Jr., an outstanding football and track athlete, picking Tennessee over the Tide because Alabama was not strong in track.
By the early part of the new millennium, though, Bama was struggling to be good in anything other than gymnastics. Mal Moore had taken over as director of athletics and began making the changes in facilities and in personnel to improve overall results. Obviously, most important to the bottom line of all sports and the most dramatic to the Crimson Tide brand was the hiring of Nick Saban as head football coach.
There were other good hires, though, including Women's Golf Coach Mic Potter, who delivered a national championship in 2012, and Men's Golf Coach Jay Seawell, whose Bama squad won the NCAA title on Sunday.
It has been pointed out that the championship by the men's golf team – a 4-1 win over Illinois in the final round – was the first NCAA championship by an Alabama men's team. True enough, but we'll give you all the NCAA swimming and diving championships you want to put up against Alabama's 15 football titles. Those are not NCAA championships because the NCAA does not award a championship for Division I football. The NCAA just recognizes the championships awarded by others (Associated Press, BCS, Coaches Poll, etc.).
Winning titles in golf is somewhat different than winning championships in most other sports. That's in part because men and women in business or retired and the like do not relax on weekends playing football or flipping on the balance beam. They do, however, play golf. And tennis. That includes a large number of alumni, the men and women a university needs to be financially viable.
Anyone who has been around the 19th hole with Alabama fans over the past couple of years has heard the admiration for the Crimson Tide golf program, which can fairly be called the nation's best. They have good feelings about Bama golf. And when they get that request from The University, they will be more inclined to act generously on those good feelings.
Football remains king in that regard, and Alabama is doing just fine there, thank you. But it's nice to have the additional warm and fuzzy feelings provided by gymnastics, softball, and golf – bringing home with football six national championships for Alabama in the past two academic years.
And, of course, every national championship adds to the overall luster of The University of Alabama.
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