It's Official

Mark Gottfried will return to his hometown of Mobile with his University of Alabama basketball team to join three Mobile-based colleges in the "Coaches vs. Katrina Benefit Basketball Exhibition Double Header" on November 9. The event was announced in a press conference held at the University of South Alabama's Mitchell Center on Thursday. had previously announced the event.

Alabama will play an exhibition game at approximately 7:15 p.m. against Spring Hill College. The event's host, the University of South Alabama, will play the University of Mobile in a 5:30 p.m. CT game. Both games will take place at USA Mitchell Center. All proceeds will be donated to the South Alabama and South Mississippi chapters of the Salvation Army to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina.

"I'm real excited about participating," said Gottfried who worked with his father, USA Director of Athletics Joe Gottfried, on the idea. "This is one small way to help the relief efforts in relation to Hurricane Katrina. I think we have an opportunity as a basketball program to do something special for other people. We hope to raise $150,000 in one night. I have personally met with the mayor of Mobile and communicated with other mayors along the Gulf Coast, so I'm confident that the money will go where it needs to go."

Tickets to the event are $5 and will go on sale on Monday, October 10 at 10 a.m. at the USA Mitchell Center ticket office and at Ticket Master outlets or by phone at 251-424-0033 or 251-460-6047.

The event is a true community effort. The game's officials are donating their time as are the game day workers and many others involved in putting on the event. Even the building rental charge is being waved in order to help raise as much money as possible to aid the relief effort.

In addition to bringing his team to play, Mark Gottfried says he and his wife, Elizabeth, who own a home on Orange Beach that was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan last fall, are donating to the cause.

"Elizabeth and I are going to pledge, personally, one dollar for every fan in attendance," said Gottfried. "I'm hoping to write a check for $10,000 that night. We are encouraging others to either match that gift or just give whatever they can. Maybe it's fifty cents or a quarter for everybody in attendance. Hopefully that can be something that will motivate others to do the same thing."

In addition to playing in the game, Gottfried wants his players to fully comprehend the importance of participating in this benefit.

"We're going to take our players down and let them see first hand on the coast some of the devastation. I think that's important for our players to see it, to understand what happened, and, hopefully it gets our players in a mind frame that they need to give back and do things with the position that they're in. I think it's an awesome opportunity, and, hopefully the people along the Gulf Coast will come out that night and support this."

The trip to Mobile will mark the third time Alabama has played in the Mitchell Center. The Tide has competed twice in USA's Coors Classic, defeating North Texas 94-55 during the 2001 season and Bowling Green 72-63 during the 2003 season.

The Spring Hill game will be the only exhibition game the Tide will play this season. The two teams have not played one another since 1964, and Alabama has an 8-0 record against the Badgers. This will mark the first time the two teams have played one another in Mobile as all the others were played in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama officially opens the season at home on Tuesday, November 15 when Alabama plays host to Miami-Ohio in the first round of the Preseason NIT.

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