WILLIAM R. "BILL" BATTLE
Bill Battle has been a pacesetter in collegiate athletics from his days as a football player under the legendary Bear Bryant (Alabama) and assistant coaching positions under Bud Wilkinson (Oklahoma) and Paul Dietzel (Army); to becoming the youngest head coach in college football at the University of Tennessee at the age of 29 in 1970; to “inventing” the concept of licensing in collegiate athletics by founding The Collegiate Licensing Company; then stepping in as UA’s Director of Athletics from 2013 to 2017. During his tenure as athletic director, UA teams produced three NCAA team national championships, 10 SEC team championships in five different sports, 15 NCAA individual champions, 43 Academic All-Americans and six Academic All-Americans of the Year. Battle earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from UA in 1963 and a master’s degree in education from the University of Oklahoma in 1964.
Cornelius Bennett joins Woodrow Lowe as the only three-time All-Americans in Alabama history. Named the SEC Player of the Year and Lombardi Award winner as a senior in 1986. Selected by the Indianapolis Colts as the No. 2 overall pick in the 1987 NFL Draft. Appeared in five Super Bowls with the Bills and Falcons in his 14-year NFL career. Bennett was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
JOHNNY MACK BROWN
Johnny Mack Brown was a member of Alabama’s 1925 national championship team and MVP of the 1926 Rose Bowl after scoring two touchdowns in Alabama’s win over Washington, the first win by a southern school in Rose Bowl history. Brown was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1957.
PAUL "BEAR" BRYANT
Head Football Coach Bear Bryant retired from coaching as the game’s all-time winningest coach with a 323-85-17 (.780) overall record. He spent 25 of his 37 years on the sidelines at Alabama, where he returned the Crimson Tide football program to national prominence. During his time in Tuscaloosa, Bryant compiled a 232-46-9 (.824) record and directed Alabama to six national championships. He also led the Crimson Tide to 13 SEC titles, was the national coach of the year three times and the SEC coach of the year on eight occasions. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
A punter on Alabama’s All-Century Team, Cain was a member of Alabama’s 1930 national championship team and played fullback, linebacker and punter as a sophomore for Wallace Wade’s 10-0 team that defeated Washington State in the Rose Bowl. Cain was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1973.
To this day, no basketball student-athlete, male or female, has scored more points in an Alabama jersey than Dominique Canty, who accumulated 2,294 throughout her career. The Chicago native became the first freshman in the history of the Southeastern Conference to be named tournament most valuable player after leading the Crimson Tide to the title game in 1996. Canty finished her career as a four-time All-American and was twice selected as a finalist for the Naismith National Player of the Year award. She was chosen 29th overall in the 1999 WNBA Draft by the Detroit Shock and finished runner-up in the rookie of the year voting that season. Her professional career spanned 14 seasons, ending in 2012 with the Washington Mystics. Canty also spent time playing overseas in Israel and Poland, where she was voted MVP of the professional league in 2007.
DANA (DOBRANSKY) DUCKWORTH
A two-time NCAA balance beam champion Dana (Dobransky) Duckworth was an eight-time All-American who led Alabama to the 1991 NCAA Championship as well as the 1990 Southeastern Conference Championship. She also earned SEC and NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, which she used to obtain a master’s of business administration from Alabama. Following a decade in the corporate world including a highly successful run with Pfizer, Duckworth joined the Alabama coaching staff as a full-time assistant in 2008 before becoming head coach prior to the 2015 season. She became the first in league history to win an SEC gymnastics title in their inaugural season as head coach.
The SEC Player of the Year in 1945, Harry Gilmer led the nation in touchdown passes with 13 and was second in the country in total offense (1,457). He earned MVP honors in the Rose Bowl that season as Alabama defeated USC, 34-14. In 1948, Gilmer was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. A two-time Pro Bowl selection during his eight-year NFL career, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993.
Called “the greatest lineman I ever coached” by Bear Bryant, John Hannah was a two-time All-American at Alabama in 1971-72. A member of Alabama’s All-Century Team, Hannah was also named to ESPN’s all-time college football team. After being selected by New England with the No. 4 overall pick in the 1973 NFL Draft, Hannah embarked on a 13-year NFL career in which he was a 10-time All-Pro selection. He was named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team and the all-decade teams for the 1970s and 1980s. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991.
BARBARA (MACK) HARDING
One of Alabama the first All-Americans in Alabama gymnastics’ storied history, Barbara (Mack) Harding won SEC and Regional titles during her Crimson Tide career and won the AMF American Award as the nation’s most outstanding senior . She also earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and was a Rhodes Scholarship finalist. A graduate of Georgetown Law, she is a former Prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice, served as deputy director of the White House Security Review that led to the closing of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in 1995, and is currently a partner at Jones Day in Washington, D.C. The first woman to be honored with the distinguished Paul W. Bryant Alumni-Athlete award from the University of Alabama, she was also the first to earn the Paul W. Bryant Student-Athlete Award as a Crimson Tide senior.
2015 Heisman Trophy Winner
Derrick Henry’s 2,219 yards was the fifth-best rushing total by a running back in the history of the Football Bowl Subdivision and a single-season SEC record. He also set school records for rushing touchdowns (28), rushing yards per game (147.9), all-purpose yards (2,310), carries (395) and points scored (168). Henry and the 2015 Alabama team went on to win the CFB Playoff with victories over Michigan State and Clemson en route to the school’s 16th national title.
Robert Horry played at Alabama from 1989-92 under head coach Wimp Sanderson. During his time at the Capstone, Horry scored 1,591 points, which ranks 14th in program history, while his 133 career games played is third in the UA record books. He helped his teams to four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including back-to-back Sweet 16s in 1990 and 1991. The Andalusia, Ala., native was a first round pick (11th overall) by the Houston Rockets and made an immediate impact as he became the first Rockets’ rookie since Hakeem Olajuwon to average double figures in points. Two years after being drafted, he helped lead Houston to the first of back-to-back titles before moving on to Los Angeles. Horry’s NBA career is highlighted by a total of seven NBA championships that he won with three different teams during his 16 years in the league. He became the second player in NBA history to win a championship with three different teams, including three with the Lakers (2000, 01, 02), two with the Rockets (1994, 95) and two with the Spurs (2005, 07). Only six players in NBA history have won more titles than Horry, and he was the first player since 1976 to win more than six titles. He also is just one of only two players in NBA history to play for three different franchises that won NBA titles. Horry finished his career as the NBA all-time leader in playoff games, appearing in 244 games, seven more than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Along the way, he set the NBA Finals record for steals in a game with seven against the Orlando Magic in the 1995 Finals. His 261 three-pointers in playoff action rank as the second-most in NBA playoff history, while his 40 in the Finals are the NBA record.
ANDREÉ (PICKENS) HOUSTON
One of the most accomplished student-athletes in Crimson Tide history, Andreé (Pickens) Houston won two individual NCAA gymnastics titles and led Alabama to the 2002 NCAA Championship before joining the UA track and field team in her fifth year of eligibility and promptly set the school record in the pole vault. In 2002 became the first Crimson Tide gymnast to earn the Southeastern Conference’s Community Service Postgraduate Scholarship. Following graduation, she went to her second USA Olympic Trials. The first was prior to her Alabama career as a gymnast while her second was as a pole vaulter and the USA Track and Field Olympic Trials. A past president of Alabama’s Student-Athlete Advisory Board, following her gymnastics and track and field careers, she went into collegiate athletics administration and is currently the Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance at Auburn University Montgomery.
A member of Alabama’s football team from 1928-30, Frank Howard would go on to a 30-year head coaching career at Clemson where he won eight conference championships in the Southern and Atlantic Coast conferences. He ended his coaching career in 1969 with a career record of 165-118-12. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989.
A three-year letterman at Alabama, Dixie Howell earned consensus All-America honors as a senior in 1934 after leading Alabama to a 10-0 record and a 29-13 victory over unbeaten Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Howell threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more in the victory. His teammates in 1934 included Don Hutson and Bear Bryant. Howell was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1970.
A four-year letterman at Alabama from 1922-24, Pooley Hubert led the Tide to a 31-6-2 record in his four years in Tuscaloosa. In 1925, he quarterbacked Alabama to a 10-0 record, a victory over Washington in the Rose Bowl and the first of the Tide’s 16 national championships. A two-time All-Southern Conference selection, Hubert ended his career with 35 touchdowns. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1964.
The first former Alabama student-athlete to have his jersey retired, Wendell Hudson played basketball at The University of Alabama from 1969-1973. Hudson was also the first African American scholarship athlete to play at UA. For his career, he recorded 1,768 points and 1,197 rebounds across 93 games, for an average of 19 points and 12.9 rebounds. He was named SEC player of the year during his senior season when he led the league in scoring and helped the Tide secure a second-place finish in the SEC and make its first postseason appearance in program history. Hudson was selected in the second round of the 1973 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls and later also played for the ABA’s Memphis Tams. After his professional career, he went on to coaching, working at Alabama, North Alabama, Rice, Ole Miss and Baylor. In 2001, he was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2000, he was bestowed UA’s Paul W. Bryant Alumni-Athlete Award. A Birmingham native, Hudson returned to Alabama in 2008 to coach the Crimson Tide women’s program for five seasons before transitioning to a different role in the athletics department and then retiring.
Don Hutson was a consensus All-American in 1934 as Alabama claimed its fifth national championship after posting a 10-0 record and a 29-13 win over Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Hutson caught six passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns in the Rose Bowl game. Hutson would go on to a 10-year pro football career with the Green Bay Packers and was a member of both the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team and its all-decade team for the 1930s. He was a charter member of both the College Football Hall of Fame (1951) and the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1963).
2009 Heisman Trophy Winner
Mark Ingram produced a 2009 season that was one for the Alabama history books on his way to winning the Tide’s first Heisman Trophy. He rushed for a then-school record 1,648 yards with 20 total touchdowns in 14 games for a 118.43 yards per game average to rank 11th nationally and second in the SEC. He added 30 receptions for 322 yards and three scores. His 1,992 all-purpose yards is the third-highest single-season total in school history. Ingram’s contributions helped lead the Crimson Tide to the 13th national championship in school history.
2014 Honda Cup Winner
One of the most decorated student-athletes in Alabama’s storied history, Kim Jacob earned 11 All-America honors, an NCAA all-around title and led Alabama to four top-four NCAA finishes – including back-to-back national championships in 2011 and 2012 – as well as a pair of SEC team titles in 2011 and 2014. One of the nation’s top athletes, Jacob was also an amazing student, carrying a 4.0 grade point average while pursuing a degree in exercise science, which led her to being the first student-athlete in league history to earn SEC Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors three times in a row. On July 1, 2014 in Los Angeles, Calif., Jacob became the first Alabama student-athlete to win the Honda Cup.
Niesa Johnson arrived at the Capstone with a bevy of accolades to her name and continued to add more throughout her career, becoming perhaps the most decorated student-athlete in Alabama women’s basketball history. The Gatorade Player of the Year from Mississippi did not disappoint in her rookie season and was named national freshman of the year in 1992 by nearly every organization in addition to earning the nod as the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Year. Johnson went on to become a four-time All-American and was a finalist for the Naismith National Player of the Year award in 1994. She was also a two-time member of the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team in 1992 and 1993 and moved on to become a member of the USA Basketball Team Women’s National Team in 1994. Johnson spent two seasons with the WNBA’s Charlotte Sting and was named to the SEC’s 25th Anniversary Team in 2006.
2012 Campbell Trophy Winner
From 2009 to 2012, Barrett Jones accomplished as much as any student-athlete at Alabama both on and off the field. He played center, guard and tackle on the offensive line and helped lead Alabama to three national championships (2009, ’11 and ’12). He was a two-time consensus All-American, won the 2011 Outland Trophy, the 2011 Wuerffel Trophy, and the 2012 Rimington Trophy. Most impressively, he was awarded the school’s first William V. Campbell Trophy in 2012, regarded as the “Academic Heisman” nationally. Jones recorded a 4.0 GPA both as an undergraduate and graduate student in accounting.
LEE ROY JORDAN
A two-time All-America selection for the Tide, Lee Roy Jordan is considered the best inside linebacker in Alabama history. During his career, Alabama compiled a 29-2-2 record. Jordan is best remembered for his 31-tackle performance against Oklahoma in the 1963 Orange Bowl. Voted Alabama’s Player of the Decade for the 1960s and to ESPN’s all-time college football team in 1989, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
One of the greatest student-athletes to put on a Crimson Tide uniform, Kelly Kretschman was the first four-time NFCA All-American in program history. The former Olympic gold medalist holds numerous records in the Alabama annals, including hits, doubles and runs to name of few. The Indian Harbour Beach, Florida, native led Alabama to its first Women’s College World Series appearance in 2000. She held the UA single-season batting average record for over a decade and still holds the single-season home run record with 25. Kretschman is still playing professionally with the USSSA Pride in the National Pro Fastpitch league, earning back-to-back NPF Most Valuable Player honors in 2015 and 2016.
Dr. Jeff Laubenthal was a member of the Crimson Tide baseball team from 1990-93, and left the Capstone with an impressive academic record during his time as a student-athlete. Laubenthal was selected to the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll all four years in Tuscaloosa and went on to be named the H. Boyd McWhorter Southeastern Conference Male Scholar Athlete of the Year, the highest academic honor presented by the SEC. Following his playing career, Laubenthal went on to earn his medical degree and has been in the field for over 20 years now. In 2012, he was named a SEC Baseball Legend in the first year of its inception. In 2014, Laubenthal was recognized with the Paul W. Bryant Alumni-Athlete Award for his accomplishments since leaving the University, which included earning his medical degree from UAB and then becoming a specialist in sports and family medicine at the West Alabama Family Practice Center in Tuscaloosa. Dr. Laubenthal also played a significant role in helping to get Sewell-Thomas Stadium renovated during the 2015 season, and has continually given back to the Alabama baseball program.
A three-time NCAA and five-time SEC champion, Lillie Leatherwood remains the Alabama record-holder at 200 (22.38) and 400 (49.95) meters. Leatherwood won two NCAA outdoor 400-meter titles and one NCAAA indoor 400 meter crown during her time at Alabama as well as two SEC outdoor 400-meter championships and an indoor 440-yard title. She was also a member of the Tide’s SEC 4x100-meter relay championship squads in 1986 and 1987. The 1987 squad’s time of 43.54 at the NCAA championships that season still stands as the Alabama record. Leatherwood also earned the first gold medal for a female Alabama track & field athlete as a member of the United States’ 4x400-meter team at the 1984 Summer Olympics.
Woodrow Lowe is one of only two three-time All-Americans in Alabama football history (Cornelius Bennett is the other). Lowe was a member of four SEC championship teams and the Tide’s 1973 national championship team. In 1973, he set the school record for tackles with 134 and ended his career with a then-school record 315 tackles. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
Marty Lyons was a consensus All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year on Alabama’s 1978 national championship team and was a key player in the Tide’s goal line stand against Penn State in that season’s Sugar Bowl. He ended his Alabama career with 202 tackles. He went on to an 11-year NFL career with the New York Jets and was named the NFL’s Man of the Year in 1984. Lyons was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Never before or since has an Alabama baseball student-athlete had a season at the plate like David Magadan did in 1983. He shattered school and Southeastern Conference records that still stand today on his way to becoming the Alabama baseball program’s only Golden Spikes Award winner, presented annually to college baseball’s top player. In that junior season, Magadan maintained a .525 batting average to lead the nation and was also voted as the 1983 “College Player of the Year” by Baseball America. He was a consensus first team All-America selection by the American Baseball Coaches Association, the Sporting News, Baseball America and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in 1983 and would earn All-SEC recognition all three seasons with the Tide baseball team. Magadan still holds Alabama records for single-season batting average, career batting average, single-season hits, doubles in a single season, and RBI for a single season. In 2010, Magadan was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame and then in 2014 he was selected to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. He went on to play 16 seasons in Major League Baseball after his time in Tuscaloosa and has continued his baseball career as a hitting coach for various teams.
Vaughn Mancha was a four-year starter at center and middle linebacker for Alabama from 1944-47. An All-SEC and All-America performer for Alabama from 1944-47, Mancha played in the Rose Bowl and two Sugar Bowls for the Tide as they amassed a 30-9-2 record. In 1992, he was named to Alabama’s All-Century Team. Mancha was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
USA Olympian and World Championships Team member, CEO of GoSwim.tv
An NCAA 200 breaststroke champion during his Crimson Tide tenure, Glenn Mills earned a place on the 1980 USA Olympic team after winning the 200 breaststroke at the USA Olympic Trials. He also competed as a part of the 1982 USA World Championship Team. Mills set the national high school record in the 100 breaststroke in 1980. In 2007, Mills and his fellow Olympians from the boycotted Games received the Congressional Gold Medal. A member of the Cincinnati Marlin, University of Alabama Swimming and Diving and Greater Cleveland Sports halls of fame, Mills set Masters world records in both breaststroke events. Following his competitive career, Mills founded Go Swim Productions and is CEO of GoSwim.tv. Mills has also produced more than two-dozen instructional DVD's and has written extensively on swimming technique.
Mal Moore was Director of Athletics at UA from 1999-2013 after a successful career as an assistant football coach at Alabama, Notre Dame and in the National Football League. He played for legendary coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant from 1958-62 and went on to serve as an assistant football coach on Bryant’s staff. Moore held the distinction of being a part of ten national championship teams as a player, coach and athletics director (1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979, 1992, 2009, 2011 and 2012), 16 SEC championships, and 39 bowl trips. He is the only individual connected with the Tide program – and likely the only person in collegiate athletics – to be a part of ten national football championships. During Moore’s tenure as Director of Athletics, Alabama produced national championship teams in football, gymnastics, softball and women’s golf as well as Southeastern Conference championships in football, basketball, baseball, gymnastics, men's and women’s golf, men's cross country and softball. Moore also directed more than $240 million of capital improvements to University of Alabama athletic facilities. On March 28, 2007, the Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama officially dedicated the facility formerly known as The Football Building as the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility. A native of Dozier, Ala., he earned undergraduate degree in Sociology in 1963 and a master’s degree in Secondary Education from UA in 1964.
Head Coach Patrick Murphy led the Alabama softball team to the program’s first national title in 2012 – the first softball national championship for any SEC team. He has totaled 11 Women’s College World Series berths, 10 SEC regular season or tournament titles and 18 straight NCAA Tournament bids. Tide players have earned NFCA All-America honors 52 times under Murphy’s watch along with 94 All-SEC performers and 88 NFCA All-Region honorees. His teams have been just as successful in the classroom, with 21 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and 197 SEC All-Academic selections.
Johnny Musso was a two-time All-American at Alabama in 1970-71 and led the SEC in rushing both seasons. His career marks for touchdowns (34) and yards (2,741) still rank among Alabama’s all-time leaders. He is a member of Alabama’s Team of the Century and all-decade team for the 1970s. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
Joe Namath was instrumental in leading the Tide to the 1964 national championship and was the MVP of the 1965 Orange Bowl after coming off the bench to throw for 255 yards and two touchdowns against Texas. He guided Alabama to a 29-4 record during his career at the Capstone. Namath is a member of Alabama’s Team of the Century and the all-decade team for the 1960s. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.
A unanimous All-America pick in 1961, Billy Neighbors also earned All-SEC honors in 1961. He is a member of Alabama’s Team of the Century and the all-decade team for the 1960s as both an offensive and defensive player. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
A unanimous All-America selection in 1977, Ozzie Newsome was voted to the Alabama Team of the Century and was the Tide’s Player of the Decade for the 1970s. Serving as the team captain in 1977, he was named the SEC Lineman of the Year. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
Olympic Gold Medalist and World Record Holder
The most accomplished swimmer in Alabama swimming and diving’s storied history, Jon Olsen finished his competitive career as a five-time Olympic medalist after earning four gold and one bronze (gold - 400 medley and freestyle relays in 1992 and 400 and 800 freestyle relays in 1996; bronze - 800 freestyle relay in 1992). He served as the United States Olympic team captain in 1996. As a collegian, he was a five-time SEC champion and the 1991 NCAA Championship 100 freestyle runner-up. He set the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle Alabama school record holder and was a four-year MVP for the Crimson Tide. He earned a place on the 1991 & 1994 USA World Championship teams and earned gold at the Goodwill and Pan-Pacific Games. A world-record holder as part of USA’s 400 medley relay, he also served as captain of the 1993 USA Pan Pacific squad where he earned four gold medals (50 and 100 freestyle and 400 freestyle and medley relays). He was an inaugural member of the USA Resident National Team under his Crimson Tide mentor, Jonty Skinner.
Jerry Pate attended the University of Alabama from 1972-75 and was arguably the most successful golfer in Crimson Tide history. Just weeks before starting his senior season in 1974, Pate became the first – and only – Alabama men’s golfer to win the U.S. Amateur. He followed that showing when he claimed the 1976 U.S. Open as a PGA Tour rookie at the age of 22. Six more PGA Tour victories followed between 1977 and 1982, as well as several other titles around the world. He was also a member of the victorious Ryder Cup team in 1981. Pate would go on to claim victory in eight PGA events and a total of 15 professional tournaments, including the Champions Tour and Japan Tour, among others. Pate continues to play an active role with the Alabama men’s golf program, including hosting an annual fall tournament, the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, which dates back to 1986. He plays an active role each year in the event, from team selection to handing out the post-tournament awards.
Head Coach Sarah Patterson led The University of Alabama gymnastics program to highest echelon of collegiate athletics, including six NCAA Championships in 1988, 1991, 1996, 2002, 2011 and 2012. She is the only coach – regardless of sport – in Southeastern Conference history to win NCAA team titles in four different decades, and the only coach in collegiate gymnastics history to win national team titles in four different decades. Under her direction, Alabama finished in the top-10 for 32 years in a row, finishing in the top six nationally 30 times including an NCAA-best 22 top-three finishes. She also coached Alabama to eight SEC and an NCAA-record 29 regional titles. Patterson coached Alabama gymnasts to 25 individual NCAA titles, 60 individual SEC championships, five NCAA Top X Awards. She also coached a Honda Cup winner (national female athlete of the year), eight Honda Award winners (national gymnast of the year) as well as 66 gymnasts who earned a total of 302 All-American honors and 75 gymnasts who earned 201 Scholastic All-American Honors.
Head Women’s Golf Coach in 11 seasons at Alabama, Mic Potter has led the Crimson Tide to three SEC championships and the 2012 NCAA championship. Potter’s squads have appeared in the NCAA Championships in each of his first 11 seasons in Tuscaloosa. Potter has tutored one NCAA individual champion (Emma Talley), two Honda Sport Award winners (Talley and Brooke Pancake), one WGCA Freshman of the Year (Cheyenne Knight) and six current or former LPGA players over the course of his Alabama tenure.
After getting his start as a volunteer coach on Don Gambril’s first Alabama staff, Dennis Pursley has gone on to one of the most extraordinary careers in the sport of swimming, one that led him to being named one of the 25 most influential people in the history of USA Swimming in 2003. His career has taken him all over the globe – including stops as the first head coach of the Australian Institute of Sport, the inaugural director of the United States National Team and head coach of Great Britain’s 2012 Olympic squad – and proven Pursley the program builder who makes an immediate and significant impact on every team he touches. Named “Coach of the Year” by both the American Swimming Coaches Association and the United States Olympic Committee, the Hall of Famer has coached world record holders, Olympic gold medalists and national championship teams. His impact at Alabama has been immediate, as the Crimson Tide has rewritten the record board and returned to national prominence, including the men’s squad being named the National Breakout Team of the Year in 2014 and earning three-consecutive NCAA top-10 finishes for the first time in more than 35 years in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Nick Saban has led the Alabama football team to six national championships (2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2020) and eight SEC championships. Overall, he has won seven national championships – six at Alabama, one at LSU. Saban is one of three college coaches in the poll era (since 1936) to win three national championships in four years.
Head Coach Jay Seawell solidified Alabama’s men golf team as a national power with the first NCAA Championship in 2013. He has won four SEC Coach of the Year honors and has guided the Tide to four SEC titles during his tenure. He has guided Alabama to nine NCAA Championships appearances (2005, 07-09, 11-14, 16). Seawell has entrenched the Crimson Tide into the forefront of the nation’s elite teams, securing back-to-back national championships in 2013 and 2014, and leading his 2012 team to finish runner-up at the 2012 NCAA Championships. His teams have won 46 tournament titles over the last 14 years, including 33 wins in the last seven seasons (81 events).
Joe Sewell was born in Titus, Ala., in 1898 and would go on to become one of the Crimson Tide’s most storied athletes in program history. He spent 14 seasons in Major League Baseball, split between the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees, eventually leading to a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977. Before playing professionally, Sewell helped lead Alabama to the 1919 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship. He returned to the Capstone in 1964, at the age of 66, to head the Crimson Tide baseball program, leading the team to 114 total wins that included clinching the 1968 SEC championship and then advancing to the NCAA District III Playoffs in North Carolina. Sewell died on March 6, 1990, in Mobile, Ala., at the age of 91 and was the oldest living member of the MLB Hall of Fame at the time of his death.
A two-time All-America selection in 1929 and 1930, Fred Sington led Alabama to a national championship as a senior. He also earned All-America honors in baseball. Named to Alabama’s Team of the Century and Alabama’s all-time team for the 50 years of football, Sington was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1955.
Former world record holder, NCAA Champion and International Hall of Famer Jonty Skinner serves as Alabama’s associate head coach in his third stint as a member of the Crimson Tide’s staff. Set to be inducted into the American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame this summer, his work on the deck has been as extraordinary as his swimming career. In the summer of 1994 Skinner was chosen as the inaugural USA Swimming Resident National Team coach at the Olympic Training Center where he coached some of the world’s elite swimmers. Skinner-coached swimmers have won 20 Olympic medals, including 17 gold. After serving as the USA Resident National Team head coach, Skinner spent eight years as USA Swimming’s Director of Performance Science and Technology, coordinating all of the testing, tracking and assessment of U.S. National Team members. He worked in a similar capacity with British Swimming during the run up to the 2012 Olympics.
The most-decorated men’s track & field athlete in Alabama history, Calvin Smith was a nine-time indoor and outdoor All-American and is still the school record holder at both 100 (9.93) and 200 (19.99) meters. During his time at The Capstone, Smith was the 1983 SEC 100 meters champion as well as a member of Alabama’s SEC championship-winning 1982 4x100-meter relay and 1983 4x400-meter relay teams. Smith would go on to run on the United States’ gold-medal winning 4x100-meter relay team at the 1984 Summer Olympics, won the 200 meters at the first two IAAF World Championships in 1983 and 1987 and was the world record holder at 100 meters in 1983.
Riley Smith was a consensus All-American as a senior in 1935, the same year he won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the SEC’s best blocker. Smith played fullback on the Tide’s 1934 national championship team and was named to Alabama’s all-time team for the 50 years of football. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985.
An All-American and SEC Player of the Year as a senior in 1967, Ken Stabler played on Tide teams that compiled a 28-3-2 record. In 1966, he quarterbacked the Tide to an 11-0 season, including a 34-7 win over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Along with Joe Namath, he was named quarterback of Alabama’s Team of the Century. Stabler was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
Head Football Coach Gene Stallings led Alabama to its 12th national title in 1992 when the Tide posted a 13-0 record that included a 28-21 win over Florida in the first SEC Championship Game and a 34-13 win over heavily-favored Miami (Fla.) in the Sugar Bowl. Stallings’ teams would win four SEC Western Division titles and post a 5-1 record in bowl games during his tenure. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
A starter at quarterback, defensive back and punter as a sophomore, Bart Starr led the Tide to a berth in the Cotton Bowl in 1953 when he threw for 870 yards and eight touchdowns that season. Starr would go on to 16-year NFL career with the Green Bay Packers and was the MVP of Super Bowls I and II. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
An All-American and All-SEC selection as a senior in 1979, Dwight Stephenson was also the Jacobs Blocking Trophy winner that season. Stephenson was selected as the center for Alabama’s Team of the Century and all-decade team for the 1970s. He was also named to the SEC’s Quarter Century Team (1961-85). He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.
A unanimous All-America selection as a senior in 1988, Derrick Thomas also won the Butkus Award that season. He was voted Defensive Player of the Decade for the 1980s and is a member of Alabama’s Team of the Century. His 27 sacks in 1988 and 52 career sacks still stand as Alabama school records. He was the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1989 with the Kansas City Chiefs. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
Head Football Coach Frank Thomas led Alabama to national titles in 1934 and 1941. Howard’s 1934 team capped a 10-0 national championship season with a 29-13 win over Stanford in the Rose Bowl. His 1941 squad earned a share of the national title after a 9-2 season that culminated with a 29-21 win over Southwest Conference champion Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951.
Justin Thomas made his debut as a professional golfer in 2013 and won his first professional event in 2014. In 2015, he collected seven top-10s and 15 top 25s. That same year he won his first PGA Tour victory, with his second tour coming in 2016. Thomas joined the ranks of some of the world’s best golfers in 2017 when we won five championships, including a major, in a PGA Tour season, joining Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth. At the Sony Open in Hawaii, Thomas became only the seventh player in PGA Tour history to shoot a 59 and the youngest player to shoot a sub-60 round. He won the tournament and set PGA Tour records at 36 and 72 holes and tied the 54-hole record. During the third round of the 2017 U.S. Open, Thomas equaled the U.S. Open single-round record of 63. He eagled the last hole to finish 9-under-par and a set a U.S. Open record. He won the 2017 PGA Championship and was also named the FedEx Cup Champion. He won his second PGA Championship in 2022. Thomas played college golf at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where he won six times for the Crimson Tide. As a freshman in 2012, he won the Haskins Award as the most outstanding collegiate golfer. He was on the national championship team of 2013.
MEREL VAN DONGEN
Merel van Dongen went on to have success on the field after leaving the Capstone, as she signed a professional contract with Ajax, which is an Amsterdam Football Club team. In 2015-16, the talented Amsterdam, Netherlands, native made 21 appearances, scored three goals and played a total of 1,811 minutes for a team that finished with an overall 17-2-5 record. In van Dongen’s two years at Alabama, she managed to become the Tide’s single season assists leader registering 10 in 2014. She is No. 1 on Alabama’s career assists per game list with 0.30 through 44 games, and her 10 assists in 2014 allowed her to take the No. 1 spot on the singles season assists per game list with 0.53 through 19 games. Van Dongen converted four penalty kicks during her career with Alabama, which ranks fourth on the career penalty kids made list at Alabama.
Head Football Coach Wallace Wade led Alabama to its first three national titles in 1925, 1926 and 1930. His 1925 squad defeated Washington 20-19 in the Rose Bowl, the first victory for a southern team in Pasadena. His 1926 national championship team also ended the season in the Rose Bowl, playing to a 7-7 tie with Stanford. Wade made his third and final trip to Pasadena with the Tide following the 1930 season and capped that year off with a 24-0 win over Washington State to complete a 10-0 national championship season. Wade was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1955.
Don Whitmire earned All-America honors at Alabama in 1942 before transferring to the Naval Academy after the outbreak of World War II, where he would also be named an All-American, making him one of only four college football players to earn All-America honors at two schools. Whitmire was the MVP of the 1942 Cotton Bowl and a member of Alabama’s 1941 national championship team. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1956.