"I think we gave $1.2 million last year for tornado relief," Saban said at the annual Nick's Kids golf fundraiser. "Half of that money was actually contributed by the people who are in this group today, who are our core group of Nick's Kids supporters. ... "Our goal is to be able to give a half-a-million more dollars to kids' organizations all over Alabama and the Southeast. We've been able to meet that goal. It's really just to continue to help young people. And I don't think their need is going to go away. If it doesn't go away, our desire to help them is not going to go away. ... We are going to build a 14th house, which we are kicking off today in partners with Habitat. ... If we're able to do it, we'll do more."
"Everybody's got a different reason" to oppose or favor nine games, he said. "Florida's got to play Florida State." Of course, Florida State also has to play Florida, and the 'Noles are headed for a nine-game conference slate whether they stay in the ACC or make tracks for the Big 12. If FSU can commit to making both their nonconference rivalry and a nine-game league schedule work, why can't the Gators? Or the Gamecocks, or the Bulldogs? Saban politely made note of those teams' stance on the issue rather than arguing against it. But between his personal promotion of the nine-game schedule, the proposal's surprising resurfacing at spring meetings, and the increasing possibility of an SEC network all but demanding it, it's clear that the nine-game schedule is an idea that isn't going to go away quietly ... if it ever goes away at all.
"When people come to Alabama, they expect to see the best," he said. "We should always strive to have the best. As long as we have the resources and we can provide the best for our student-athletes, that's what we should do in all sports."
"We're real proud of the women's softball team for what they did last night," Saban said of the tense 5-4 victory over Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. "I'm glad it's a three-game series and not a seven-game series, because the last two seventh innings I think I was more nervous than I am in our games. You know, the cardiac kids or something." So Saban stayed awake until the game ended at 12:31 a.m.? "I was up last night and saw it all," he said from Old Overton Club. "I was really proud of the way our players persevered and overcame the adversity of the weather. It never affected them, and it probably had a significant impact on the outcome of the game."
Trent Richardson was Alabama's No. 1 tailback for only one season, but it was impressive enough that the junior from Pensacola, Fla., was selected as the Alabama Amateur Athlete of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. Richardson and other athletes of the year in various categories will be among those recognized at the ASWA's annual awards banquet in Birmingham on Sunday. "I am extremely honored to be named the Amateur Athlete of the Year by the Alabama sports writers," Richardson said. "I enjoyed working with the writers that covered Alabama, and I'm honored they have recognized me. This is an award that I would not be receiving if it wasn't for my teammates at Alabama, my offensive line and coaches especially, and I want to thank them."
Congratulations to the Alabama Crimson Tide softball team, who rebounded from a game one loss to take the final two games of the WCWS Championship Series. Oklahoma had a 3-0 lead when it started raining. Just minutes before, Oklahoma's coach had said, on the air, that they'd play in rain, snow, whatever, they didn't care... but once it started raining, suddenly they didn't want to be on the field. The controversy was inflamed even further when the Alabama players refused to take shelter in the dugout while the Sooner players remained inside. Eventually, the NCAA said "Gimme a break, go play ball", and Alabama promptly wiped out the deficit; they held on for a 5-4 win.
Alabama landed its fifteenth commitment of the 2013 recruiting class on Thursday night when Sugar Land, Texas cornerback Maurice Smith announced his commitment to the Crimson Tide via press release. "Maurice Smith II (Fort Bend Sugarland Dulles c/o 2013) has researched, evaluated, and visited and has reached his decision to commit to University of Alabama and play for Nick Saban's defense," said the release. Smith is rated a four-star prospect by all major recruiting services and is rated the No. 15 cornerback in the nation by 247Sports and the No. 10 cornerback by ESPN. He chose the Tide over offers from more than 20 schools, including Florida, Florida State, LSU, Notre Dame, Texas and Oklahoma.
Winning a team championship isn't just about having the most talented athletes, although that's a part of it. It isn't about having the best coaches, although that's a big part of it, too. It isn't just about having the classiest facilities or the craziest fans. Alabama - and other schools - have those things, on an annual basis. But it doesn't always win championships, because they are so hard to win, and because the competition at the elite level gets so tough and because fate sometimes is unkind. In the end, no matter how many of those tangible assets you can claim, being a champion is about something different. It is not just about refusing to lose, but refusing to consider losing even when logic suggests that you probably will lose. It is about being tough, a consistent kind of toughness whether you are a 95-pound gymnast or a 295-pound offensive tackle, a toughness that transcends pain and fatigue and noise and pressure. It is about facing an opponent that wants to win a championship with every fiber in its being - and then wanting it more than they do.
When football players leave Arkansas, they aren't just good student-athletes, they're good people. At least that seems to be the mission of the Arkansas athletic department and coach John L. Smith, who tweeted pictures from the team's "etiquette team dinner" where players learned — among other things - the proper way to set a table, which utensils to use in a given situation, how to use a fork properly and the proper way to get soup from a buffet. The players also were taught how to make conversation and network during a meal.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has agreed to stick around through 2017. The school and Swinney announced Thursday they had come to terms on a three-year contract extension. It had been previously announced Swinney would earn more than $1.9 million plus incentives. Swinney was grateful for Clemson's support. "I am very appreciative of their confidence in the program and my staff," he said.