Equipment being installed

New Tide Strength Coach Kent Johnston is having to work around the swarms of workmen that are busily assembling and installing the various lifting stations. But frankly, he doesn't mind a bit. <br><br>When finished, Johnston says the facility will be a showcase, which will especially help with recruiting.

(Above left) With the floor completely laid now, the Alabama emblem proudly greets visitors as they enter the new weight room.

If some of the Tide coaches are starting to get impatient right about now, few could blame them. But the truth is that moving into a brand new facility that utilizes all new equipment simply takes some time. Right now workmen have laid out the pieces to the various lifting stations and are carefully assembling each one. As one writer correctly noted, "This isn't something you can rush. If you make a mistake, someone could get badly hurt." Note the upper middle window. On the other side of those panes Head Coach Mike Shula has also moved into his new office.

The entire North wall of the facility is lined with mirrors. Note the bench press benches lined up ready to be placed and the dumbbell racks next to the wall.

Lending a real touch of class to the facility, a photo mural depicting the high points of Alabama's storied football history runs from left to right.

View of the second (right-hand) section of the same mural. Note Bama's two most recent national championship coaches prominently displayed, Stallings (and Jay Barker) to the right and Coach Bryant to the left. Looking through the windows, you can see the former Tennis Stadium area which will be converted to an artificial surface practice field.

New Head Strength Coach Kent Johnston may not have had time yet to move in completely and decorate his office, but he's certainly had plenty of time to get started with the athletes. As one player commented, "I have muscles that hurt that I didn't even know I had." Coach Johnston says he's following a mandate from Mike Shula to build not just physical conditioning but also mental toughness in the Tide team. "With past Alabama teams, we may not have always had the best athletes, but you never beat us mentally," was how Coach Johnston explained it.

View of the indoor track, which runs in front of the row of offices (to the right) occupied by the various strength coaches. It doesn't look like it from a distance, but the track surface is made of different material, designed for running and jumping. Also, it's already marked off in feet and inches to aid the coaches in measuring.

Something of the enormous size of the new facility can be seen in this photo. It will probably be next week before most of the new equipment is ready, but clearly the finished product will be well worth the wait. Note the windows to the upper right. A luxurious recruiting suite, where visiting prospects and their families are entertained, overlooks the weight lifting area.

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